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Water and Sanitation on Clanwilliam Dam project


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Water and Sanitation on Clanwilliam Dam project

Image of Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu
Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu

3rd November 2023


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The resuscitation of Clanwilliam Dam engineering work has sparked optimism among the West Coast corridor's communities. This as Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr Senzo Mchunu joined by Western Cape MEC for Infrastructure, Mr Tertuis Simmers and the Executive Mayor, Cederberg Local Municipality, Dr Ruben Richards visited the Clanwilliam Dam project on 02 November 2023 to conduct oversight to the construction work underway at the dam site.

The Clanwilliam Dam project, situated on the Olifants River near the town of Clanwilliam in Cederberg Local Municipality, is a R 4 billion worth project, making it one of the biggest government infrastructure investments in the Western Cape. The project involves raising the dam wall by 13 meters. R 400 million has been allocated for the current financial year (2023/24) to implement the project.


The project involves extending the dam wall on the downstream side and then raising it to a higher level by 13 meters. The additional yield of water will provide an opportunity to develop resource poor farmers to promote food security and decent employment through inclusive economic growth.

Some of the direct benefits associated with the project as it unfolds include more than 500 job opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled, and development of skills and learning opportunities; and new business opportunities for the locals.


Minister Mchunu said unlocking the bottlenecks that caused the collapse of the project and seeing it to its completion was the biggest priority for the Department of Water and Sanitation, as the yield from the extended infrastructure will bring a lifeline many livelihoods in this region.

“What we see happening here at the dam construction site is encouraging and there is no stopping until we finish. The dam currently yields about 123 million cubic meters of water and when the project is completed, is expected to yield 343 million cubic metres volume of water, thus bringing into the system almost double the current yield,” said Minister Mchunu.

In his address to stakeholders and residents that converged at the town’s local church hall, NG Kerk, Minister Mchunu said government was committing a lot of resources to building projects across the country and that through projects such as these, the department strives for quality water to flow to South African households. “We have built a solid, tight management team for the Clanwilliam Dam project, and we will support them to see it through to the end."

The revival of the project is a hit for the Western Cape Province. MEC Simmers said the province welcomed the resuscitation of the dam project as there was a long history associated with the project. “We, therefore, welcome that work has commenced and interventions by stakeholders to unbundle the hindrances. This will now further accelerate the hydro-energy projects planned for the west coast corridor and bolster the agricultural sector. As the spheres of government alongside the private sector, we remain committed to the successful delivery of this project.”

The project has provided renewed hope for stakeholders of the West Coast. Francois Swaartbooi, a local businessperson said they are happy the project is being revived. Swartbooi said that they have established a business forum to ensure that local small medium enterprises benefits from the project.

Earlier last week the construction unit carried out trial blasting at the Clanwilliam Dam construction site. The trial blasting which was performed today is a controlled blasting as it was closer to the dam. The first blasting at left bank is a significant and noteworthy move, especially since the Clanwilliam project encountered many challenges associated with procuring service providers and materials. 

The success of trial blast marks the beginning of a new era for the project as excavation activities are expected to unleash high-scale activity at the construction in the weeks to come.

The current work at the construction site includes excavations to prepare platforms for the drilling and blasting operations; blast proposal and design by the Drill and Blasting sub-contractor, and geologists to inspect the vertical faces of the excavation to determine the rock anchor details.

Environmental legislation is a solid foundation for South Africa. Consequently, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was developed and approved during the initial stages of the project. In this way, both the environment and the resource will be protected during and after construction.

The Government is aware of the delays in the implementation of the Clanwillliam Dam project over the years, with the recent resuscitation of the project, the department remains committed to completing the work within the revised timeframes, budgets, and specifications.

Photo from left: , Dr Ruben Richards, Cederberg Local Municipality Mayor, Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Water and Sanitation & Mr Tertuis Simmers Western Cape MEC for Infrastructure

For more information, contact Wisane Mavasa Spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation on 060 561 8935.


Issued by The Department of Water and Sanitation



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