Vlakfontein Canal Upgrade, South Africa

The Vlakfontein canal transports raw water being pumped at approximately 5.7 m3/s from Grootdraai Dam at Standerton, Mpumalanga over a 37 km long distance to the Grootfontein Pump Station.

Water is piped to the Knoppiesfontein Diversion Tank where it splits. The two pipelines then supply Bossiespruit Dam for private energy and chemical company Sasol, and Trichardsfontein Dam for state electricity company Eskom.

Aurecon has been appointed to complete both design and construction supervision for the upgrade of this canal on behalf of the Department of Water Affairs and in association with Ndodana & Associates. The principal objective of the project is to rehabilitate sections of the canal, in a prioritised way in order to mitigate the risk of failure. Potential failure of the canal could result in substantial financial losses for a number of stakeholders.

The challenge will be to ensure rehabilitation is carried out in such a way that the regular maintenance shutdown periods of 21 days per year can continue as planned, without being exceeded. The construction period for the full rehabilitation of the canal will extend over seven years.

In order to dewater sections of the canal for rehabilitation, a temporary bypass system with a capacity of 3.5 m3/s will have to be designed. High priority will be given to the fill sections, as they have been identified as high risk areas. These add up to 8.1 km of the canal’s full length of 37.1 km, while the remaining sections of the canal will be rehabilitated in order of the priority assigned to them.

Aurecon’s scope of work will include planning and design, preparation of drawings, contract conditions, specifications and schedules of quantities, as well as a number of environmental aspects of the project. In addition, Aurecon will monitor occupational health and safety compliance and provide contract management and construction supervision.