Aurecon excels at 2012 IMESA awards

Meulwater Water Treatment Works

Meulwater Water Treatment Works

30 October 2012 - Every two years, the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa (IMESA) and Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) invite local, provincial and government/semi-government authorities and/or their engineering consultants to submit entries for the IMESA Biennial Project Excellence Awards. Entries are required to demonstrate “the art and science of infrastructure engineering to the general public and indicate how the profession finds answers to challenges”. (

This year saw two projects in which Aurecon was involved walk away as winners in two of the five categories. The Community Residential Unit (CRU) Refurbishment Programme project for the City of Cape Town was awarded top honours in the ‘Community Upliftment’ category, while the Meulwater Water Treatment Works (WTW) for the Drakenstein Municipality triumphed in the ‘Environmental’ category.

These awards are the second for the CRU Refurbishment Programme and third for the Meulwater WTW this year. Earlier, the CRU Refurbishment Programme was a joint winner in the ‘Community-based projects’ category in the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Project Awards. The Meulwater WTW recently walked away with the top accolade at the Consulting Engineers South Africa’s (CESA) Aon Engineering Excellence Awards in the category ‘Engineering Excellence with a value less than R50 million’ as well achieving a certificate of merit from the Drakenstein Heritage Foundation.

CRU Refurbishment Programme – A catalyst for positive change
Aurecon delivered project management, consulting and technical assistance and civil, structural and electrical design expertise for the programme, and was the implementing agent for the upgrade of 3 840 residential units.

“The project entailed general renovations to buildings, roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as the installation of new ceilings, floor coverings, cupboards and geysers. Other aspects of the programme encompassed fencing, refuse management, area lighting, the greening of areas and recreational facilities,” explains Johan Keuler, Aurecon’s Project Leader for this project.

Aurecon designed a temporary village for residents to stay in while their flats were being refurbished. The village consisted of 12 m converted containers with windows and doors, insulation, partitions, bathrooms, free electricity and water, and a garbage collection service.

According to Keuler, the project was a strong team effort that involved the local community.

“The project involved a lot of job creation, so Aurecon allocated work to the local community wherever possible,” says Keuler.
Before the families moved back into their refurbished units, they were also educated on the maintenance of a rental unit, the payment of rent, the management of electricity and water accounts, and the management of refuse.

Meulwater WTW – a special product leaving a heritage for the community
The 8 Mℓ/d Meulwater WTW was commissioned in May 2012.

“The design team overcame significant challenges in providing a solution for the water needs of the Drakenstein Municipality in an extremely sensitive environmental area,” says Brendon Theunissen, Water and Wastewater Engineer and Project Leader for the Meulwater project.

The WTW treats water from the Nantes and Bethel Dams which are sited on the Paarl Mountain, and is located on the boundary of the beautiful Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.

“Due to its location, the plant was designed with careful attention to ensuring that it fits appropriately into this environment, while continuing the heritage of water supply and treatment on Paarl Mountain,” comments Theunissen.

The involvement of professionals such as a heritage specialist, botanist, landscaper and architect, added to the team of treatment specialists and engineers. In addition, the Drakenstein Municipality also assigned a team of their own municipal engineers and other technical staff to interface with the consulting team during the feasibility and design stages of the project.

“The municipal engineering team must be credited with the lead role they have played in this; their enthusiasm and commitment filtered down to all others throughout the project. The close interaction and spirit of cooperation amongst the various parties involved with the project has played no small part in its success and has resulted in a special product that will hopefully prove to be a heritage for the community served by the Drakenstein Municipality,” says Theunissen.

Design features worth noting include the architectural style of the WTW to minimise its visual impact. On the process side, Theunissen says that “direct filtration, which is unusual in South Africa, was chosen to minimise the plant footprint and provide an effective solution for the design water quality”.

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