The raising of the Hazelmere Dam wall is about three months behind schedule, with the new completion date being August/September 2017, reports the North Coast Courier.
“There is a delay of the early impoundment, which was meant to be at the beginning of December 2016,” said department of water and sanitation spokeperson Sputnik Ratau.
The new estimated date for early impoundment is January 17.
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This mammoth task is part of an intervention by the department after last year’s drought exposed the inadequacy of the current storage capacity to meet the growing demands of the North Coast region.
Hazelmere Dam, located on the Mdloti River, was originally constructed as a concrete gravity dam in 1976.
According to Ratau, the design has subsequently been changed to incorporate an uncontrolled spillway in the form of a “Piano Key Weir”, commonly referred to as a PKW structure.
The stabilisation of the wall involves the use of steel cables anchored in the rock surrounds of the dam wall.
“Hazelmere Dam in its raised state will be of great importance to the province, as it forms the major water supply of the existing two systems in the area,” said Ratau.
“The wall will be increased by seven metres to raise capacity from 23.9 million cubic metres to 43.7 million cubic metres. This will also increase water availability to the North Coast by some 10 million m3/a,” Ratau added.
The supply area of the Hazelmere Dam extends from Verulam, close to the dam, through Groutville, Blythedale and Ballito to KwaDukuza in the north.
The water is mainly used for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes, the latter mainly for the irrigation of sugarcane farming.
“With the good rains that we have had, the dam level has increased and is already at a level where the construction is taking place,” said Ratau.
Umgeni Water’s Hazelmere treatment works has been extracting maximum water to keep the dam at a safe level for the construction workers.
“It is good to note that this project has created 53 jobs that employed people from the local community,” Ratau said.
– Caxton News Service