SOUTH AFRICA: The country’s largest water reservoir goes operational in Vlakfontein

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SOUTH AFRICA: The country's largest water reservoir goes operational in Vlakfontein ©South African Department of Water and Sanitation

South Africa's Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, has inaugurated South Africa's largest drinking water storage facility with great fanfare. The reservoir in Vlakfontein has a capacity of 210 000 m3.

A new reservoir is storing drinking water in Vlakfontein, a town in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province, South Africa. The facility was inaugurated on 17 February 2023 by the South African Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu. Rand Water, the company that provides the public drinking water service in Gauteng and other provinces in the country, built the water tank.

The reservoir has a storage capacity of 210 000 m3, making it the largest facility of its kind in South Africa and one of the largest in the world. “Currently, the other largest post-tensioned cylindrical reservoirs are in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where there is a network of 11 circular post-tensioned reservoirs with a capacity of 187 500 m3 each,” says Rand Water.

Increasing water storage capacity in the Mapleton system

The project, which was launched in May 2020, required an investment of 460 million South African rand, or about $25.4 million. Rand Water will operate the new reservoir, which when it comes into service on 25 April 2023 will enhance the utility’s efficiency in dealing with problems upstream in the supply chain. The facility is expected to supply people until at least 2035.

Read also – AFRICA: Water and sanitation security today, a necessity!

The Vlakfontein reservoir, which is 11m high, 11m further underground and 1.1km in circumference, is part of the Mapleton booster system that will gravity feed water through 3054km of pipes to supply systems in the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipalities and the local municipalities of Govan Mbeki, Victor Khanye, Thembisile Hani and Lesedi. For the record, the Mapleton system receives water from the Zuikerbosch purification and pumping station via two 2,100 mm diameter pipes and distributes this drinking water to several municipalities via two other outlet pipes of similar capacity.

Inès Magoum

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