New mega tank in pipeline for Bronberg ridge PDF Print E-mail
News - Aktueel
Tuesday, 26 July 2016 04:08
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Rand Water wants to build a 100 mega litre (ML) reservoir and associated infrastructure on the Bronberg ridge where the critically endangered Juliana’s golden mole lives. There are also six archaeological sites on the premises.

A public meeting, which forms part of the project’s public participation process, was held on 12 July at NG Kerk Tygerpoort in Shere. The public has until 22 July to comment on the Draft Basic Assessment Report (BAR) prepared by Nemai Consulting, an independent environmental assessment practitioner.

Rand Water is proposing to install an additional 100 ML reservoir next to its existing reservoir on the Bronberg on property that belongs to Rand Water. The proposed development will be on portion 18 as well as the remaining extent of Tweefontein Farm 372 JR, located between Olympus and Shere. There are six alternative placement options for the reservoir on the property, three each in section A and B.

According to Michele van der Westhuizen from Friends of the Bronberg, “Rand Water will kill moles in order to do this and the reservoir is likely to supply water to enable further development planned for the area, which will kill more moles and the other threatened and endangered species of this critically endangered ecosystem that is meant to be protected”.


The access road on route one

Background
Rand Water is the primary supplier of water to Gauteng and surrounding areas. The proposed reservoir will provide water to areas north of the Bronberg to Mamelodi and extending to Bronkhorstspruit and Ekandustria.

The initial Vlakfontein-Mamelodi water system did not include a storage reservoir and only a break pressure installation with a 5 ML tank was constructed. A few years later it was realised that an adequate storage facility closer to Mamelodi was required because the 48 km distance from the Vlakfontein reservoir in Benoni is too long.

The existing 100 ML Bronberg reservoir was constructed for the purpose. According to Rand Water the additional reservoir is immediately required for average daily demand and to meet a projected increase in demand until 2035.

Alternative
According to the report there are no feasible site alternatives for the proposed development. The location on a ridge is technically required because efficient functioning of the reservoir depends on gravitational flow of the water. The site already houses some of the required associated infrastructure, such as break pressure tanks and accessible bulk water supply inlet and outlet pipelines.

Rand Water previously purchased this land with the intention that it would house two reservoirs to meet future demands, and is unable to buy additional land that is up for sale.

According to the report there is no appropriate reservoir site down-stream from the Bronberg up to the hills where the Mamelodi reservoirs are.

Ecosystem
The report states that only 5% of the proposed development site falls within the threatened ecosystem identified as the critically endangered Bronberg mountain bushveld.

This ecosystem is delineated by the Bronberg ridge with associated koppies, drainage lines and rivers where 19 threatened or endemic plant and animal species of special concern are found.

There are three vegetation types including andesite mountain bushveld, Marikana thornveld and Rand highveld grassland. Rivers and wetlands in the ecosystem include the Moreleta Spruit, Pienaars River, Zwavelpoort Spruit and various wetlands. Only about 1% of the ecosystem is protected in the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve.


One of several archaeological sites on the Rand Water property

Mole
Nemai Consulting asked dr Sarita Maree to do a Juliana’s golden mole specialist assessment for the proposed development, including the access roads to the property.

According to dr Maree the activity of Juliana’s golden moles is rated as very high on the property. The entire distribution range for this critically endangered subpopulation of the species on the Bronberg ridge is highly restricted and represents one of only three known populations of the species. The other two are from Limpopo Province and the Pretoriuskop area in the Kruger National Park. Each of these populations is regarded as evolutionary significant units that should be conserved as unique evolutionary lineages.

Destroy
Dr Maree’s assessment states that the reservoir project is likely to lead to the destruction of all golden moles in the immediate area where the reservoir will be erected. Very little can be done to mitigate the loss of this highly threatened red data listed species at the construction site.

According to the assessment, the new routes for temporary access roads for the period of construction run through areas with high densities of golden moles on the northern slope of the Bronberg, considered as a high priority area for the conservation of this species.


A site photograph of Bronberg section A, compass direction south east
Photos: Nemai Consulting

Routes
Four possible routes approaching the proposed reservoir construction site are considered by Rand Water. Route one approaches the site from Hans Strijdom Drive (Solomon Mahlangu) via Olympus and Leander Roads and the access road between Leander and the reservoir.

Route two approaches the site from Atterbury Road via Olympus, Achilles and Leander Roads and the access road between Leander and the reservoir. Route three approaches the site from Lynwood Road extension (Graham Road) along Struben Road.

Route four approaches the site from Lynwood Road extension (Graham Road) via Frank Avenue, Catherine Road and James Road.

Contact environmental consultant Kristy Robertson from Nemai Consulting for more information:
tel: 011-781-1730; cell: 072-769-2850; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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