Civil Designer Showcase

10 Year Water Supply Plan for Insika Yethu Municipal Area

For the people in the Insika Yethu Municipal area, collecting water is very hard work. Approximately 75% of the population relies on rivers, springs and small open dams for their water supply. This figure is likely to drop to 55% with the completion of the current water network projects.

The next phase of the venture includes an extensive feasibility study that was conducted by Camdekon Consulting Engineers in June 2002. The findings and recommendations of the study were presented in April 2004 and provided options for domestic water supply in the Insika Yethu Municipal (IYM) area in the Chris Hani District.

According to Vumile Jack, Camdekon Civil Engineering Technician, the project should provide large-scale employment opportunities in the area and will dramatically improve the living conditions of residents.

"The IYM area, which comprises of the Cofimvaba and Tsomo districts, is served by 46 councillors and consists of 23 wards and 375 rural settlements. The current population is estimated at 240 089 individuals and 44000 households, while the terrain covers 4226 km˛ with elevations varying between 500m and 1400m above sea level," says Vumile.

During the feasibility study, the team worked closely with a GIS consultant in order to extract maps of the area. "We start the project by studying topographical maps of the region so that we can establish the boundaries to the local municipality and at the same time collect vital information that is required for input into the system."

"We then accumulate information on the current situation pertaining to water provision and collect additional data from other consultants so that water infrastructure can be planned. Information is usually received in hard copy and then input into CIVIL DESIGNER so that we can create the design."

The production of water scheme and supply network drawings is completed with the use of AllyCAD. "I find the program to be very easy to use and there are many shortcuts that allows one to complete projects quickly and effectively," says Vumile.

The next phase of the project involved exploratory analysis. "We contracted SRK consultants in order to conduct an exploratory study of the area's ground water, so that they could establish if there was enough water to develop the schemes for the region.

The study depicts how much water each borehole produces, as well as the extent and number of potential well field areas. This investigation specifically looks at the estimated yield so that all information pertaining to the area's potential water wealth can be summarized in map format."

The water consumption is based on 130 litres per person per day in urban areas and 25 litres per person per day in rural areas.

Vumile explained the abstraction of water as follows: "The amount abstracted from boreholes is largely dependant on the yield and recharge of the borehole, as well the daily water demand for the community."
Cofimvaba Town | Camdekon Consulting Engineers

Area information accumulated, revealed that there are 14 potential ground water boreholes with approximately 3-5 boreholes per scheme. "This equates to about 40 – 70 boreholes that pump to reservoirs. In terms of the ground water potential, the exploration program identified target well fields where boreholes of yields in excess of 1,5 litres per second can be expected. The target zones are geographically favourable for the development of well fields in undeveloped areas."

In addition to this, the district has adequate surface water resources particularly toward the east where runoff riverflows are able to supply domestic and stock needs. "Four large dams are located in the area with reserve capacity to supply all domestic requirements, while a few perennial springs with yields of up to 5 litres per second were identified."

"These dams were constructed for irrigation purposes and are largely underutilized in the Transkei area with only one dam being used for domestic water supply. Agriculture is a major economic activity in the area and these irrigation schemes are therefore being developed with a total planned irrigated area of 10 000 hectare," explains Vumile.

Pollution Control Technologies also carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment study during the project, in order to determine the runoff river reserve as well as any negative impact that the development could bring about to the environment. "The feasibility study found that it was more cost effective to operate and maintain groundwater schemes as opposed to surface water schemes. This was largely due to the sophisticated equipment and materials used in a surface water scheme. The cost of developing the water schemes was estimated at R220 million."

Although Vumile spent many long hours on the project, he is pleased with his involvement and looks forward to the next challenge. "The feasibility analysis was very interesting and we learnt a great deal about the area and its people. The existing schemes should be completed by the end of 2007, while new schemes are planned for completion by 2015. Inhabitants of the Insika Yethu Municipal area can therefore expect positive change in the next ten years," he says proudly.

image Vumile Jack followed in his father's footsteps and decided to pursue a career in Civil Engineering. Vumile studied Civil Engineering at Border Technikon and then joined Camdekon Consulting Engineers as a Junior Technician.

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