Oudtshoorn agricultural water feasibility study, South Africa

The Stompdrift and Kamanassie Dams are the main sources of water for irrigation within this region of the Klein Karoo. These dams provide water to the area’s many farms through a system of canals which extend more than 75 km along the Olifants River valley downstream of the dams. The area’s water requirements, however, are far greater than these dams can currently supply.

This shortfall led to the need for a feasibility study that would provide cost-effective recommendations and solutions to optimally utilise water resources.

Aurecon provided a number of engineering services for this important study, including hydrological studies and water supply system modelling; civil engineering studies of the canals and possible augmentation schemes; and project management.

The main aims of the study were to:

  • Determine the yields of the dams.
  • Confirm that augmentation of the water supply using surface water resources is not economical.
  • Review available literature on groundwater in the area to determine the feasibility of augmenting supplies using groundwater.
  • Investigate waysA of increasing the efficiency of operation of the canal system by reducing seepage, evaporation and spillage losses.
  • Investigating ways of maximising agricultural returns from the current water supply of the farms. 

Over and above these aims, Aurecon also considered the social and economic implications of the results of the above investigations to arrive at recommendations on how to use the available water so as to maximise the social and economic benefits obtained, with particular emphasis on poverty alleviation.

The Oudtshoorn agricultural water feasibility study provides the roadmap for the efficient use of water in this region of the Klein Karoo.