The Drakenstein Meulwater Water Treatment Works project in South Africa is initiated to establish a reliable collection and storage of water to form a stable water supply to Drakenstein municipality all year round, regardless of the amount of rain that may fall.
The project was initiated based on ecological as well as economic reasons; First of all it was important to reduce leakages. Also, the dams providing the water for the municipality were subject to fluctuation in quality, and as the South African water standards became more strict, the municipality had to rely more heavily on purchasing treated water from Cape Town.
Monitoring, a way to reduce leakages
When a water supply is highly dependent on a very fragile ecosystem, such as national parks, focus must be on caring for the water that is at your disposal. Therefore, there was and still is a strong focus on leakage reduction. Monitoring the operative functions of the water plant is a way to locate the leakage problem and therefore a computerised SCADA system was installed to monitor the water plant day and night. Leaks were located and the water loss was reduced to 13% which is far below the national average of 37%. It also had a positive effect on the financial situation of the water supply. Due to the high quality of the water they have no difficulties receiving proper payment for the water they deliver to their consumers.
A new water treatment plant for safe water supply
The project began in 2001 with a water supply management study identifying the need for the municipality to secure its own reliable water source. The study proposed a water treatment plant for the Paarl Mountain dams as most of the distribution infrastructure was already in place. The study also showed that the municipality could build and operate a water treatment plant at a substantial saving compared to purchasing water from Cape Town. There was a pronounced focus on quality when building the new water treatment plant and AVK products were chosen as part of the solution.
Consideration for the nature
The water treatment plant was built with consideration of its location in the middle of the national park. This meant that the construction was lowered 5.5 meters below ground, by which 1500 tons of granite had to be blasted away in order to make room for it. Apart from the traditional cleansing methods such as oxygenation and sand filtering, chalk will be added to the water to provide taste and hardness.
Building new dams in Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve
The catchment area is part of Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, that has been an important water source for the Drakenstein municipality for a long time. The various streams around the mountains have been used by farmers and townsfolk from the early settlement of the valley, as they provided a pristine source of water which could be channeled to any required application.
However, as the water requirements of Paarl increased, the Nantes and Bethel dams were built to meet the needs of the town and provide capacity of storing water throughout the year.