MCWAP2 — 6 years to go

LEPHALALE — Feedback on phase two of the Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project (MCWAP2) was given during the quarterly meeting of the Lephalale Development Forum (LDF) held at Mogol Club recently.

(Photo https://www.dwa.gov.za/projects/mcwap)

The objective of MCWAP2 is to supply the water demands in the Waterberg Coal Fields (Eskom, Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and coal mining).

Azwi Nelwamondo, Deputy Project Manager at the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), explained that additional water from MCWAP2 is required to enable the unlocking of the coal resources in the area for power generation in the Waterberg. The targeted economic developments include a third coal power station in addition to Matimba and Medupi and various Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for coal supply to selected Eskom Mpumalanga power stations and for coal export.

Nelwamondo further explained that MCWAP2 comprises of an abstraction weir (Vlieëpoort), pump stations, a 160 km pipe line to transfer water from the Crocodile River to the Lephalale area – there are also two balancing dams along the pipeline. He said for this system to work, a river management system which will manage and monitor the flow of water in the Crocodile River from Hartbeespoortdam all the way down the Crocodile River to the confluence of Groot Marico River is needed.

Nelwamondo said the options have been submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs for consideration and once authorisation is given, they will know exactly which route the pipeline will be following.

“In terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), we are in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) stage where we have the specialists on the ground conducting their studies. Once their studies are concluded, the input will be incorporated into the EIR and then it will be issued to the public for comment. The report will be issued to the public for review (it usually takes 30-40 days), so we can expect that around July 2018. The public participation meeting on the environmental impact report will be held around the week of 15 August.

“After consideration of the comments of the public, the report will be consolidated and submitted to the authority (DWAF) for decision.

“We anticipate the decision around the end of January/February 2019. This is the milestone programme in terms of the overall MCWAP.

We expect that by the end of June the implementation agreement between the department and TCTA will be finalised.

“The appointment of a professional service provider (design engineer) is at an advanced stage. This should also be concluded by the end of June.

“The engineer will start with the tender design process and then the tender for the contractor/s (depending on the strategy) should be ready by late March 2019. The contractor needs to be appointed by March 2020 in order for us to commence with construction in April 2020. We have to meet the water delivery date for Medupi, which is around the first quarter of 2024. We need to have the authorisation by the end of February 2019 if we want to meet this deadline,” Nelwamondo concluded.

Some of the questions asked after the presentation:
Question: “Considering the construction start date – would you be able to finish in such a short time?
Answer: Measured against normal construction philosophy, we are already late and behind schedule. All the stakeholders concerned will have to consider acceleration.

Question: What we say here is that the other mines will start around 2024?
Answer: They will be able to start construction etc, but you need water for production”.

The environmental authorisation (EA) is not yet approved and many of the activities are dependent on positive approval of EA.

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