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Progress Update – 19 Nov

Murraysburg, Western Cape, November 19, 2016– It is now just over two months since work commenced on the rehabilitation of the town’s historic lei-water system.
The project is rapidly nearing completion and we are hopeful that we will be able to begin diverting water into the newly refurbished dams before the end of November.

Diversion weir and inlet furrow

This is where the water begins its 2km long trip into the town. The original weir was built with stone over 100 years ago to divert the waters of the Buffels river into the town. At some stage the height of the wall was raised, presumably to offset the effect of silting.

Although the water is still flowing in this photograph, before the first summer rains, the following picture illustrates how things will look after we have received the first good rains this summer.

This sluice gate diverts water from behind the weir into the canal. The century-old stone construction can be clearly seen in this photograph. Only the actual sluice gate is of modern construction. It is interesting to note that after considering all available modern alternatives, the engineers elected to simply refurbish the system to its original state, with very minor changes.

In implementing this project great care has been taken to preserve as much of the original structure as was possible. The new has been very sensitively blended with old at every opportunity.
A testament to the ingenuity of the original disigners of the system.

By way of contrast, the fist photo is recent and the second was taken some four years ago at the same location.

And so the water will soon follow the newly-restored canal from the old weir and across the dry Karoo veld, holder of so many secrets, into the dams that have stood empty for decades now.

During the last few hundred meters of its journey the water passes through a cutting hewn through solid rock over 100 years ago. One can only begin to guess at the time, effort and ingenuity needed to accomplish this feat. It is said that people came from far and wide at the time just to see this feat of engineering in Murraysburg.

One of the very few “upgrades” made to the original design has been the installation of this modern “choke sluice” to enable us to prevent flood water entering the town though this cutting. The sluice will also enable us to prevent water flowing back towards the weir if this is ever necessary.

The water will finally flow into the town under these two bridges in front of the newly-refurbished Murraysburg Clinic and Hospital complex …

At which point it will enter the storage dams though these two sluices.

We hope that the next update will record the first flow of water through the new system.

Funding has been provided by the Programme - Sustainable Resource Management, Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Government. The project will provide long-term and sustainable benefits to all residents of Murraysburg and will support the implementation of additional projects to enhance the town’s recreational facilities as well as contributing to food and water security.

Casidra, (Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas), is the implementing agency for the project.
The contract was awarded by Public Tender to Vastrap Grondverskuiwings BK, Murraysburg
A further Release will be made to coincide with the completion and commissioning of the Project.

Water is critical for sustainable development, including environmental integrity and the alleviation of poverty and hunger, and is indispensable for human health and well-being.

- United Nations

The MSDC is a registered Non Profit Company with members, formed to ensure the protection and sustainable development of Murraysburg’s natural and heritage resources in a manner that will be beneficial to all of its people.