George Municipality today confirmed the successful Practical Completion of the raising of the Garden Route Dam Wall and the spillway construction which started on 13 May this year. Practical Completion is achieved when the works are considered fit for intended purpose, although all minor works may not be fully completed. For this significant project, the earthworks and concrete works had to be completed to be considered practically functional. Minor re-instatement works are still taking place, but the decision has been made that the site will be open to the public from Saturday 15 December 2019.

Executive Mayor Naik reiterated his comments made at the official site opening in June this year when he thanked all the roleplayers involved in the successful Practical Completion. “We remain excited that this is a unique project design and a first for George and the Western Cape. Our ability to increase the storage capacity of our precious resource of water is a positive step in the continued development of George. The early and successful practical completion of this project is commendable. I also urge everyone to continue to use our most threatened natural resource, water, sparingly and wisely. 2B Water Restrictions remain in place for George and surrounds,” said Ald Naik.

In order to complete the construction the dam level had to be kept below 75% and when measured on Monday 9th December it stood at 71.54%. Thankfully water only needed to be drawn down in the first few weeks. The dam’s full supply level has been raised by 2.5 metres, which increases the total storage capacity of the dam by approximately 25%. The old crest weir height was 179,94m with a dam capacity of about 10.0 million cubic metres. The new spillway weir height is 182,5m with a storage capacity of 12,5 million cubic metres. The new spillway is approximately 80m in length and varies between 3.7m to 4.7m in height (above existing ground levels) and approximately 400 to 600mm thick at the top of the new spillway wall.

The municipality has completed a series of controlled burns to clear alien vegetation in those areas that pose a fire risk surrounding the dam site, with a further burn planned in February 2020 in the area directly surrounding the dam wall area (subject to weather conditions). The planned Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas (CASIDRA) managed alien vegetation clearing operation for a width of approximately 50m along the stream edge of the Kat and Swart River systems upstream of the dam is expected to start in early 2020.

Members of the public are reminded that this area was a major construction site and there may still be areas which require additional rehabilitation work. Use of the area will be solely at the risk of the public, and visitors are requested to proceed cautiously until the site is formally presented back to the Municipality. Newly constructed works should be avoided at all times, and no children or adults must climb onto or over the works.

The municipality sincerely thanks the residents for their patience during the construction period and for adhering to the restrictions as this allowed construction to continue without undue interruption and additional safety, financial and program risks. Any feedback or further enquiries from the public can be referred to

Photographs: Adrian Van Molendorff

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