THE PROPOSED ENLARGEMENT OF THE SOETMELKSVLEI FARM DAM, ON SOETMELKSVLEI FARM (RE/150), CALEDON, NEAR RIVIERSONDEREND, WESTERN CAPE: NOTIFICATION OF AVAILABILITY OF THE FINAL BASIC ASSESSMENT REPORT
(DEA&DP Ref No:16/3/1/1/E4/5/2005/14)
The Japie Groenewald Trust proposes the enlargement of an existing dam on the farm Soetmelksvlei (RE/150, Caledon), approximately 15km west of Riviersonderend. The purpose of the enlarged dam would be to pump existing unutilized winter enlistment water from the Sonderend River into the dam. This water would be used to augment the irrigation water supply to the farm for the 247 ha of existing deciduous fruit on the farm. The existing orchards are newly planted, and the additional irrigation water is therefore required in order to bring them into full production. Soetmelksvlei Farm is situated off the R406 between Riviersonderend and Greyton.
The existing dam wall will be raised by 12m, to give a total wall height of approximately 17m, and a total crest length of 1020m. The surface area of the enlarged dam would be 5.3ha. The enlarged dam will have a 400 000 m3 storage capacity.
Following the comment period for the Draft BAR which ended on 04 August 2014, the BAR has been finalised and will now be available for review during a final 21 day public comment period. For ease of reference, please find below a summary of the how the BAR has been updated and revised since the Draft BAR was lodged for public comment:
A number of minor changes to aid readability and correct minor typographical errors
- Section C (Public Participation) has been updated, to report on progress with the public participation process since the lodging of the Draft BAR;
- Section E has been updated to include more a more comprehensive discussion on alternatives and a more detailed explanation of the technical limitations regarding feasible alternatives on the site.
- Sections F and H have been revised to include a specific assessment of impacts on remnant flood plain wetland as a result of the proposed borrow area as well as the mitigation measures put forward by the Freshwater Ecologist. These sections have also been updated to reflect the existence of a River Maintenance and Management Plan (MMP) that has been compiled by the Fresh Water Ecologist (and included as an Annexure to the EMP for the project). Alien Clearing activities will now be dealt with via the comprehensive specifications and methodologies outlined within the MMP, rather than the generic alien clearing plan put forward by the Client (and previously included as Appendix K).
- Appendix E has been updated to include all comments received from relevant authorities during the course of the DBAR comment period.
- Appendix F has been updated with the inclusion additional public participation process information since the lodging of the Draft BAR, including a comments and response report.
- Appendix G3 has been updated in response to comments received by CapeNature. The Update is by way of an updated addendum to the Fresh Water Study, that now addresses the impacts and relevant mitigation measures associated with the proposed sand borrow area.
- Appendix G4 has been updated in response to comments received by CapeNature. The update is via the inclusion of an addendum letter from the Botanist that addresses the proposed sand borrow area.
- Appendix H (Environmental Management Program)has been refinedto take account of mitigation measures put forward by the Fresh Water Ecologist in relation to the proposed borrow area. In addition, the River Maintenance and Management Plan (MMP) that has been compiled by the Fresh Water Ecologist, has been included as Annexure 4 of the EMP. Specifications regarding Alien Clearing have been amended to reference the comprehensive specifications and methodologies outlined within the MMP, rather than the generic alien clearing plan put forward by the Client (and previously included as Appendix K).
- Appendix K has been revised. The Alien Clearing Plan included as Appendix K of the DBAR has been removed, since this generic document has now been superseded by the the comprehensive specifications and methodologies outlined within the MMP (included as annexure 4 of the EMP – Appendix H of the FBAR)
- Appendix K1 has been added to the FBAR, and contains a letter received from the consulting Engineers on the project, outlining the technical constraints associated with finding suitable alternative dam sites on the property.
- Appendix K2 has been added to the FBAR and contains email correspondence with the consulting Botanist for the project, in which he confirms that the findings of the Botanical Specialist Report were fairly reflected within the DBAR.
All changes made to the Final BAR have been underlined in the text of the report for ease of reference. Note that no substantive changes have been made to the findings, conclusions or recommendations of the Basic Assessment Report.
The Final BAR has been made available to the public from 22 September 2014 to 15 October 2014 for a 21 day comment period. Copies of the report have been lodged at the Riviersonderend Public Library and on the Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants website (www.hollandandassociates.net).
Should you have any further comments, issues or concerns regarding the proposed project or the findings of the Final BAR, please submit your comments in writing via post, e-mail or fax to Mr Ross Holland of Holland & Associates Environmental Consultants (Fax: 086 653 1765, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or post: P.O. Box 31108, Tokai, 7966) on or before
15 October 2014. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) reference numbers must be referred to in all correspondence submitted by I&APs.
Once the comment period closes the Final BAR will be submitted to the decision making authority, i.e. DEA&DP, for their consideration, together with the comments from I&APs. Once DEA&DP has reviewed the Final BAR and are satisfied that it contains sufficient information to make an informed decision, they will issue an Environmental Authorisation. Registered I&APs will be notified of DEA&DP`s decision.
We thank you for your participation thus far in the environmental process.