GEORGE NEWS - There seems to be hope that the Garden Route Dam will finally be upgraded.
Ms. Lindsay Mooiman, Vice-Director of Infrastructure, Planning an projects at George Municipality, on Tuesday said to the George Herald she is finally positive that a licence will be granted to the municipality which will allow the Garden Route Dam to be built higher.
On Monday Mooiman attended a strategy meeting with the Western Cape Department of Water Affairs.
Apart from the Garden Route Dam, the Malgas River pumping station scheme and its water licence was also discussed.
"At this stage it seems that permission for the Malgas River project is imminent," Mooiman said.
She reported that the department only needed to verify certain aspects of the application regarding the Garden Route Dam.
Only the environmental aspect can still prevent granting of permission, she said. It concerns how much water should be released from the dam to keep the downstream are flowing. In this case the Swart River is affected. The Garden Route Dam might be required to release between 0% and 8,5% of the dam’s content.
Should the requirement be too high, it may scupper our application, since the reason for the upgrading of the dam would be precisely to prevent more water from flowing into the Swart River, she said. Mooiman said the Western Cape Department of Water Affairs would prefer to apply for approval to its national counterpart soon - possibly within 14 days. "It seems that all stakeholders in the Western Cape are positive regarding the application. Thereafter it all depends on the national authority."
If water rights are granted to the George Municipality, the project will be executed according to the "fusegate system". This system was developed in Australia and is already in use at the Australian Darmouth Regulatory Dam, where the spillway was raised by 3,3 metres.
The fusegate system is a patented non-mechanical spillway control system. It consists of independent free standing blocks made of steel or concrete set on a spillway weir and designed to tip off during extreme flooding when the reservoir level reaches predetermined elevations.
The application of this system at the Garden Route would provide for a progressive and controlled release of water flow during exceptional flood conditions and prevent the dam from being overtopped.
ARTICLE: CHRISTO VERMAAK, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST