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Issue Date: August 2004

Developments in water supply for rural East London

1 August 2004

For the people in the Insika Yethu Municipal area, collecting water is very hard work. Approximately 75% of the population relies on rivers, springs and small open dams for their water supply. This figure is likely to drop to 55% with the completion of the current water network projects.
The water supply venture was supported by the feasibility study requested by the Chris Hani District Municipality in June 2002. The findings and recommendations of the study were presented by Camdekon Consulting Engineers in April 2004 and provided options for domestic water supply in the Insika Yethu Municipal (IYM) area in the Chris Hani District.
During the feasibility study, the team worked closely with GIS consultants in order to extract maps of the area. "We started the project by studying topographical maps of the region so that we could establish the boundaries to the local municipality and at the same time collect vital information that was required for input into the system," says Vumile Jack, Camdekon civil engineering technician.
"Information on existing water schemes and additional data from other consultants are then accumulated so that the water infrastructure can be planned. Information is usually received in hard copy and then input into Civil Designer, an interactive software package that incorporates a suite of civil engineering modules."
The production of supply network and water scheme drawings is completed with the use of AllyCAD, an industrial 2D strength CAD program that provides essential functionality through its operational simplicity. "I find the program to be very easy to use and there are many shortcuts that allow one to complete projects quickly and effectively," says Jack.
Groundwork exploratory analysis on the area is done by SRK consultants, who investigate the area's ground water in order to establish if there is sufficient water to develop the proposed water supply schemes for the region. The study depicts how much water each borehole produces, as well as the extent and number of potential well field areas. The investigation specifically looks at the estimated yield so that all information pertaining to the area's potential water wealth can be summarised in map format.
Area information accumulated, revealed that there are 14 potential groundwater schemes with approximately three to five boreholes per scheme. This equates to about 40 to 70 boreholes that pump to reservoirs. In terms of the ground water potential, the exploration program identified target zones where boreholes of yields in excess of 1,5 litres per second can be expected. The target zones are geographically favourable for the development of well fields in undeveloped areas.
In addition to this, the district has adequate surface water resources particularly towards the east where runoff riverflows are able to supply domestic and stock needs. "Four large dams are located in the area with reserve capacity to supply all domestic requirements, while a few perennial springs with yields of up to 5 litres per second were identified."
These dams were constructed for irrigation purposes and are largely underutilised with only one dam being used for domestic water supply. Agriculture is a major economic activity in the area and these irrigation schemes are therefore being developed with a total planned irrigated area of 10 000 hectares," explains Jack.
According to Jack, the use of CAD software was instrumental in the completion of the project as it allowed large amounts of information to be imported for the creation of detailed drawings with minimum effort. The existing schemes should be completed by the end of 2007, while new schemes are planned for completion by 2015.
For more information contact Yolanda Desai, Knowledge Base Software, 021 701 1850,

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