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Grant funding takes George budget to new heights

At the construction site for the 20ML/d extension to the New Water Treatment Works (New WTW) are, from left: Henry Hill (Portfolio Cllr Planning and Development), Jannie Koegelenberg (Engineer, Royal Haskoning DHV), Gerard de Swardt (Project Manager: George Civil Engineering Services), Jackie von Brandis (Portfolio Cllr Civil Engineering Services: Capital Projects & BFI), Ald Leon Van Wyk and Jonathan Bernon (Construction Manager, Icon Construction).
Portfolio Councillor for Civil Engineering Services: Capital Projects and BFI, Jacqulique Von Brandis s, highlighted that water is crucial for drinking and sanitation as it sustains the health of residents, food production and healthy ecosystems.

George Municipality is the first non-metro municipality to ever receive the Budget Facility for Infrastructure Funding (BFI) grant to the value of R1.197 billion from National Treasury, effectively taking the Capital Budget over the next three years to the largest it has ever been in the history of George. The funding will be provided over the next forty (40) months for implementing the various components of the Potable Water Security and Remedial Works projects.

What is Budget Facility for Infrastructure Funding (BFI)?
The BFI funding is allocated through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant, which is managed by the Department of Water and Sanitation.


It is well-known that there is widespread concern about the state of water and waste-water infrastructure in South Africa and that significant amounts of funding will be required to rehabilitate this infrastructure within municipalities.

George Municipality is no exception and provides water services to over 212 120 people from 62 722 households (STATSSA 2017) across 28 wards including the coastal areas of Kleinkrantz, Wilderness, Victoria Bay, Herolds Bay and Gwaing, as well as the rural areas of Herold, Waboomskraal, Uniondale and Haarlem.

Portfolio Councillor for Civil Engineering: Capital Projects and BFI, Jackie Von Brandis highlighted that water is crucial for drinking and sanitation as it sustains the health of residents, food production and a healthy ecosystems.

“With this in mind and with the continued emphasis on water security, George needs to become a water smart city. This is done through a visionary approach from Council and the administration to integrate sustainable urban planning and water management. The allocation of the BFI grant and proper budget management will make George, the city for a sustainable future,” said Cllr Von Brandis.

Skilled and innovative planning officials
The George management team recognised that the capital expenditure required to upgrade the George bulk water infrastructure to provide for the current and future developments, is significant, placing an enormous strain on the municipality’s financial resources. The initiative was taken to approach National Treasury to search for a solution.

Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk lauded the team of senior management and officials who put the funding application together, having only one month until the closing date for applications, and working around the clock to ensure a credible and compliant submission.

“The approval and feedback from the Department of Water and Sanitation following the application meeting, is a testament to the skilled and innovative Civil Engineering Services planning staff we have in George. The Council of George can rightly be proud of the team of senior management and officials who put together this funding application at short notice “said Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk.

Impact on citizens of George
Municipal Manager Dr Michele Gratz said that the impact of this funding will be immense for George and the 212 120 residents we service. Investing in water services will increase the revenue of the municipality and allow further development that increases the rates base of the municipality, allowing for investment and increasing job creation.

“This is a major milestone project for the sustainability of our city that will stimulate housing and economic development that had to be halted in recent years as bulk water and sanitation infrastructure had reached maximum capacity. The project will also eradicate the current discharge of sludge from the Water Treatment Works into the sewer system, and that has had a negative impact on downstream sewer pumpstations. Water security is required to improve the quality and amount of investment to support growth and job creation, “said Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk.

The objectives of the project are to ensure the ability to provide adequate potable water for the current population and for future developments, to provide water security of water supply, to support social and economic development and to reduce water pollution.


What are the Potable Water Security and Remedial Works components funded by BFI?The project consists of 12 components, some of which will be executed in more than one construction phase.

Component 1 and 3
The refurbishment of the existing Sludge Discharge System, Phases 1 and 2, will take place at the Eden, Meul and Schaapkop sewer pumpstations and will include a new sludge treatment facility at the Water Treatment Works, a 300m 315mm diameter sludge pipeline, an upgrade to the new Water Treatment Works pumpstation and a new 12.4km 1000mm diameter pump line.

  Work is almost completed on the Schaapkop Donga Stabilisation. Construction took place to stabilise and rehabilitate the slope on the riverbank to protect the pump station from an encroaching donga that was exacerbated by the November 2021 floods, and create a safe working space for the pump station contractor. The first phase of the upgrading and refurbishment of the Meul sewer pumpstation has commenced. This contract includes a new Motor Control Centre at the Eden sewer pump station.

Component 2
The 20 Ml/d extension to the New Water Treatment Works (New WTW).

Status: The first contract, the civil engineering component has commenced.  The tender for the mechanical, electrical and instrumentation (MEI) works has closed and is in the evaluation phase. This is the largest single component of the BFI project and is valued at approximately R500 million.

 Earthworks are almost completed, with the major excavation for the WTW extension consisting of some 20 000 metric cubes of earth material to be stockpiled on site for re-use elsewhere on other components of the BFI project as well as other possible municipal projects. Placing of concrete will commence shortly and for this purpose two tower cranes of 23m height will be installed on site.

Component 4
The Upgrading of Garden Route Dam Outlet and Supply includes the replacement of the existing 600 mm diameter raw water pipeline from the intake tower at the Garden Route Dam to the raw water pumpstation, with a new 800 mm diameter stainless steel pipeline to accommodate a higher  flowrate.

Status: The preliminary design has been completed, to be followed shortly by the final design, and thereafter the procurement process to appoint a contractor.

Component 5
2 x 1100 kVA generators will be installed at the Garden Route Dam raw water pumpstation. This will mean that during loadshedding or any other power outage, raw water can continue to be pumped to the Water Treatment Works for processing for drinking water supply.

The tender has closed and is in the process of being evaluated.

Component 6
A new additional 30 mega litre raw water storage balancing dam will be constructed, together with a 3.4km long 600mm diameter raw water pipeline will be installed to secure sufficient raw water storage for supply to the New Water treatment plant (11th Avenue, Denneoord). The new raw water dam will supplement the existing storage dams for provision of raw water to the two treatment plants.

Status: The design process is progressing well with consideration of two alternative positions in order to select the most cost-effective solution.  Thereafter final designs and procurement of a Contractor will commence.

Component 7
The rehabilitation of the Old Water Treatment Works, located at 9th Avenue in Denneoord will allow for the refurbishment of the works, with a design capacity of 25 Ml/day but currently only operating at 18Ml/day, to approximately 24Ml/day.

Status: Construction has commenced on the Upgrade of the Old Water Treatment Works to increase the treatment capacity, and further contracts have been awarded for the supply of filter sand, installing of new fencing to improve security, and a Chlorine off-gas handling facility to improve health and safety.

Component 8
Refurbishment of the Kaaimans River Pumpstation equipment will include the replacement of 2 x 100l/s pump sets, 2 x 50 to 100 l/s VSD pump sets, and 2 x 0 to 25 l/s VSD pump sets, with appropriate new pump sets, and includes the replacement of electrical control equipment. The Kaaimans Pumpstation discharges into the Garden Route Dam and can supply approximately 25% of the raw water requirement during periods of good rainfall.

The preliminary design report has been completed and an alternative is being considered with more appropriate and durable pumps e that are more resistant to the abrasion caused by suspended material in the raw river water.

Component 9 and 10
The new 14,5 Ml Pacaltsdorp West Reservoir; New 3 Ml Pacaltsdorp East Reservoir, 300 kl Tower and pumpstation will address the inadequate emergency and balancing storage in this suburb.

Status: The conceptual design and proposed site layout design is nearing completion, to be followed by the detailed design. This will be done in parallel with the process to ensure compliance with all environmental requirements and the land re-zoning processes.

Component 11 and 12
A new pumpstation and control valves will be provided at the existing Thembalethu West reservoir and tower; a new 8 Ml Thembalethu East Reservoir, 900 kl tower and pumpstation will provide adequate potable water storage, and increase security of potable water supply to Thembalethu as well as provide capacity  to meet future development.

Status: The conceptual planning, system functionality and component sizing have been completed and designs can now commence.

Earthworks are almost completed, with the major excavation for the Water Treatment Works extension consisting of some 20 000 metric cubes of earth material to be stockpiled on site for re-use elsewhere on other components of the BFI project, as well as other possible municipal projects.

At the Schaapkop Pump Station, the slope on the river bank is being stabilised and rehabilitated.