Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme Study, South Africa

Aurecon, in joint venture, was tasked with undertaking a feasibility study and compiling a business plan that focused on the rehabilitation and upgrading of the irrigation scheme and agribusiness development in the Vaalharts and Taung areas.

The primary objective of the project was to quantify the capital investment needed and then to prepare the necessary business and implementation plans to raise funding.

The Vaalharts scheme is the largest irrigation scheme in South Africa, with approximately 32,000ha of land under irrigation. The scheme sees water from a diversion weir in the Vaal River flowing through an 812km long network of canals to water approximately 1250 farming units within the scheme. These vary in size from 25ha to 75ha.

During recent years it became evident that the condition of the water supply infrastructure had deteriorated and the effect of water logging had increased to such an extent that continued agricultural production on the land was severely affected.

Consequently, the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture and Land Reform, in collaboration with the National Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders, initiated a number of investigations and surveys to determine the full extent of the challenges.

The study undertaken by Aurecon entailed a wide variety of services:

  • Planning of irrigation and associated infrastructure
  • Agricultural assessment and economic evaluation
  • Socio-economic assessment
  • Institutional assessment
  • Local and regional economic evaluation
  • Agricultural crop market analysis
  • Agri-BEE opportunity identification and assessment
  • Investment and business planning

The project is ongoing and will help to underpin the ongoing performance of the Vaalharts irrigation scheme as a major water resource asset to surrounding communities.