PROPOSED ENLARGEMENT OF DRAAI DAM AND EXPANSION OF AGRICULTURAL AREAS ON FARM DOORNKLOOF NO. 573 AND PORTIONS 4, 12 AND 17 OF FARM SAND DRIFT NO. 220, NEAR BONNIEVALE, WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE: NOTIFICATION OF SUBMISSION OF THE APPLICATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORISATION THE AND AVAILABILITY OF THE DRAFT BASIC ASSESSMENT REPORT AND INTEGRATED WATER USE LICENCE APPLICATION

BASIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCESS: DEA&DP Ref No.: 16/3/3/6/7/1/B1/4/1175/22

Heritage Western Cape Ref No.: 22022223NK0224E

Smuts Brothers Agri (Pty) Ltd (hereafter referred to as “the Applicant”) proposes the enlargement of the existing off-channel Draai Dam and expansion of agricultural areas on Farm Doornkloof No. 573 and Portions 4, 12 and 17 of Farm Sand Drift No. 220 near Bonnievale. The farms are located approximately 12.5km southeast of Bonnievale, within the Langeberg Municipality in the Western Cape Province.

The Applicant recently purchased the farming unit in a relatively degraded state and is currently in the process of investing significant resources into the re-development and replanting of the property in order to re-capitalise the farm and return it to optimal agricultural productivity levels.

The proposed project consists of enlarging the Draai dam in two phases. The proposed first phase is from its current storage capacity of approximately 6000 m3 (with a wall height of approximately 3.5 m) to 30 000 m3, with phase two being the enlargement to its eventual storage capacity of 250 000 m3 (by means of a centreline raising of the embankment crest of 8 m). Note, the first phase does not trigger any listed activities in terms of the NEMA EIA regulations. The proposed enlarged Draai dam will supply water that is gravity fed from the Zanddrift canal, by means of a proposed 355 mm diameter PVC pipeline with a total length of approximately 0.6 km, to one new central pump house that will be replacing the three existing dilapidated corrugated iron pump house structures. The existing irrigation system and underground pipeline network will be replaced with new pipes and new connections will be included for water distribution to the new proposed irrigation areas. The applicant proposes to expand 11 ha of irrigation areas on virgin soil to produce citrus and plums/nectarines. 

The purpose of the proposed dam enlargement is to allow the applicant to utilise their winter enlistment and to provide surety of water supply, since the farm is situated on the lower end of the Zanddrift canal (which is also the last canal on the Central Breede River Water Users Association (CBRWUA) system). In order to ensure efficient and optimal use of the properties existing water rights, it is proposed to decommission three of the existing off-channel dams on the property and to create one properly engineered dam (proposed enlarged Draai Dam) to act as efficient irrigation water storage for the site. A Water Use Licence Application (WULA) for the proposed water use (storage of water) will be undertaken for DWS approval.

Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants (Pty) Ltd has been appointed by Smuts Brothers Agri (Pty) Ltd to undertake the requisite Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for the proposed project (in this case, a Basic Assessment Reporting (BAR) process) in accordance with the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (No. 107 of 1998) EIA Regulations (2014), as amended. DJ Hagen & Associates (Pty) Ltd. is the consulting engineer for the proposed project. A WULA has   been submitted to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) for approval (WU reference number of WU26100).

The Draft Basic Assessment Report has been made available to the public for review for a 30-day comment period, and is downloadable via the link below. Registered Interested & Affected Parties (I&APs) have 30 days, i.e. 31 October 2022 – 30 November 2022 to submit comments related to the proposed project and Draft Basic Assessment Report. Any comments received from I&APs will be collated and responded to in a Comments and Response Report CRR(2), and will be included in the final BAR that will be submitted to DEA&DP for decision making.

Should you have any comments, issues or concerns regarding the proposed project or the findings of the Pre-Application Basic Assessment Report, please provide your comments in writing to Melanie Van Niekerk of Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants, by email or post (Email: mvanniekerk@hollandandassociates.net or post: PO Box 31108, Tokai, 7966), on or before 30 November 2022.

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