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Proposed Enlargement Of Meerlust Dam And Associated Pipeline Infrastructure, And Agricultural Expansion, Near Worcester

PROPOSED ENLARGEMENT OF MEERLUST DAM AND ASSOCIATED PIPELINE INFRASTRUCTURE, AND AGRICULTURAL EXPANSION, NEAR WORCESTER, WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE: NOTIFICATION OF SUBMISSION OF AN APPLICATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION AND AVAILABILITY OF THE DRAFT BASIC ASSESSMENT REPORT AND INTEGRATED WATER USE LICENCE APPLICATION

BASIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCESS: DEA&DP Ref No.: 16/3/3/1/B2/32/1032/20

Heritage Western Cape Ref No.: 19060504LB0621E

The Applicant, Meerlust Trust proposes the enlargement of the existing Meerlust Dam and associated pipeline infrastructure upgrades as well as to expand agricultural development on the farm by cultivating approximately 13ha of virgin land. The site is located on Portions 1, 14,15, 16, 18 and 19 of Farm Doorn Rivier No. 546, situated approximately 20km south of Worcester and approximately 6.5km to the south-east of the Kwaggaskloof/ Brandvlei Dam, at the foot of the western slopes of the Ouhangsberge, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

The proposed enlarged dam incorporates two existing dams and would have a storage capacity of 500 000m3 and an estimated wall height of 11.2m. The proposed dam would be filled by pumping existing enlistment water from the Bossieveld pipeline which abstracts water from the Brandvlei/ Kwaggaskloof Dam, as well as from the Doornriver canal which is fed from the dam’s own catchment. The catchment lies within the Doring River Catchment, a tributary in the middle reaches of the Breede River.

The main purpose of the project is to increase the Applicant’s assurance of supply of irrigation water on the farm for existing cultivated areas. By storing a greater proportion of enlistment water, the Applicant is able to make more efficient use of their existing entitled water rights, and thus enabling the proposed modest expansion of 13ha.

The proposed project, including associated infrastructure, includes the following:

  • Proposed Enlargement of Meerlust Dam (500 000 m3 storage capacity, 11.2 m high embankment) (Option 1 (b)): The enlargement of the existing Meerlust Dam would involve the raising of the existing dam wall from 3.5m in height to approximately 11.2m in height. The proposed enlarged Meerlust Dam (Option 1b) incorporates two small existing dams, which have a current combined surface area of approximately 2.7ha. The total footprint for the enlarged dam including its basin full supply area would be approximately 11.7ha, resulting in an impact of approximately 9ha of virgin land. The storage capacity of the proposed enlarged dam will be increased from approximately 18 500m3 to approximately 500 000m3 and would be filled by existing lawful use (ELU). Pumped water from the Bossieveld pipeline, which abstracts water from the Brandvlei/ Kwaggaskloof Dam, as well as the Doornriver canal, which is fed from the dam’s own minor catchment, would be used to fill the dam.
  • Proposed laying two 160mm diameter PVC inlet pipes from Bossieveld pipeline to the dam: The total length of the inlet pipe on the left flank is estimated to be approximately 75m long and 65m on the right flank. The pipes will have a total operational footprint of approximately 23m2 and a total construction phase footprint of approximately 560m2.
  • Proposed laying a 315mm diameter HDPE dam outlet pipe with a 110mm diameter Brackish water pipeline: The outlet pipe will connect to the existing irrigation water supply pipeline. The total length of the outlet pipe is estimated to be approximately 0.7km long with a total operational footprint of approximately 350m2 and a construction phase footprint of approximately 3150m2.
  • Proposed agricultural expansion area of approximately 13ha: The Applicant proposes to expand agricultural expansion activities on properties 16/546 and 18/546, which would include the clearance on approximately 13ha of indigenous vegetation for the cultivation of wine grapes, with irrigation under an existing enlistment.

Notice is further given of the issue of an Integrated Water Use License Application (IWULA) in terms of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act 36 of 1998) (NWA) by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation, dated 24 December 2019.

Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants has been appointed by Meerlust Trust to undertake the requisite Environmental Impact Assessment process for the proposed project (in this case a Basic Assessment Reporting (BAR) process) in accordance with the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (No. 107 of 1998), as amended, EIA Regulations (2014).

The Draft Basic Assessment Report and standalone Executive Summary have been made available to Interested and Affected Parties (I&APs) for review for a 30 day comment period, and is downloadable via the link below. I&APs have 30 days, i.e. 8 September 2020 – 9 October 2020 to submit comments on the proposed project and Draft Basic Assessment Report. Once the comment period closes, comments received will be incorporated into a Comments and Response Report CRR(2) and will be included in the final BAR that will be submitted to DEA&DP for decision making.

Should you have any comments, issues or concerns regarding the proposed project or the findings of the Draft Basic Assessment Report, please provide your comments in writing to Ross Holland of Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants, by email, fax or post (Fax: 086 653 1765, email: ross@hollandandassociates.net or post: PO Box 31108, Tokai, 7966), on or before 9 October 2020.