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Enterprise development, transformation, job creation, and socio-economic development will follow after the Brandvlei Dam infrastructure project, located close to Worcester, was recently completed.

First identified in 2008, the improvements in the catchment infrastructure for the Brandvlei Dam project came into fruition when a call for a series of applications to contend for infrastructure finance from Government, was heeded by stakeholders. The catchment management authorities recognised that the Brandvlei Dam was an off-channel dam and water was diverted from the Smalblaar River into the Holsloot River. From the Holsloot River a feeder canal had been built between the weir and the wall of the Brandvlei Dam, but this feeder canal could only fill the dam to 73% of capacity. Increasing the canal wall by 30cm over a 4 km stretch meant 33 million cubic meters – a 15% increase in water capacity. They, therefore, motivated for the heightening of the feeder canal as part of the government’s Strategic Infrastructure Programme.

According to the Wine Industry Strategic exercise (WISE) in 2014, 4 000 ha of additional water could be generated by the Brandvlei Dam scheme with infrastructure changes. This would form a crucial part of the wine industry’s vision for inclusive vineyard production.

Vinpro, the representative body of the South African wine industry, was invited to form part of an Inter-Governmental Steering Committee represented by 17 Government departments and relevant industry stakeholders that were established in 2015 and chaired by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA). This steering committee added substance to form, by providing the required economic analyses and advocating for the expedition of the project with the ear of all 17 Government departments.

“The project experienced some headwinds due to various reasons. Vinpro, through our representation on the Horticulture workstream of the Agriculture and Agro- Processing Masterplan (AAMP) ensured in 2020/21 that this project was positioned as a high priority, high impact project,” says Paiter Botha, Compliance and Special Projects Manager at Vinpro. “The high priority of this project to the Vinpro board is also clear from the fact that a dedicated Vinpro board task team was established to help drive the process from a transformation perspective and the positioning of this project through the Resources Workstream of the Wine Industry Value Chain Round Table (WIVCRT) chaired by Vinpro.

 

“We are so proud and thankful that we were part of this great initiative that opened in February this year,” says Botha. “Raising the canal wall at the Brandvlei Dam is fantastic news for the wine and other agricultural subsectors. This will address much-needed water allocation for reform, transformation, job creation, and socio-economic development within one of our largest wine growing regions.

 

“We would like to thank the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, notably Dr Dirk Troskie, chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Steering Committee that drove the budget of R21 million and created additional irrigation for 4 400ha. The construction phase also created 32 local jobs. A huge thank you also goes out to the National Minister of Water and Sanitation, Minister Senzo Mchunu, his acting DG, Dr Sean Phillips, and the team from Construction South, who completed the work,” Botha concluded.

A phase that focuses on applying for and evaluating water licenses has been launched and the second call for water applications has been published by the Breede Gouritz Catchment Management Agency. The call for applications will be effective until 30 June 2023.

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Wanda Augustyn
Vinpro Communications Manager
Tel: 021 276 0458
E-mail: wanda@wineland.co.za

 

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