The Berg River Dam in the upper reaches of the Berg River near Franschhoek, approximately 90 km from Cape Town, forms an important part of the Western Cape Water Supply System.
The Berg Water Project comprising of the construction of the Dam and Trans-Caledon Tunnel Association was awarded to Berg River Project Joint Venture (BRPJV), a consortium of the construction companies Grinaker LTA, Group Five, WBHO and Western Cape Empowerment Contractors. Construction of the project started in 2004 and was completed in 2007 – on time and within budget.
As part of the construction project, the footprint of the dam (approximately 700 Hectares) had to be cleared of all vegetation. Felled trees and bush had to be chipped and stockpiled in an area off site in Robertsvlei, the wood chips were to be used for future rehabilitation of the vegetation downstream of the dam wall and excess wood chips were given to farmers to use as mulch or to make into compost.
Initially the area that the dam wall was to be constructed on had to be cleared before clearing of the rest of the dam’s footprint. Working within the strict time schedule was of paramount importance in order to prevent delays to construction teams.
The companies Site Force cc & Fastfell cc belonging to Shaughn and David Frost were awarded the Land Clearing Contract. Local labour was employed for the felling and stock piling of vegetation in wind rows. A Horizontal Grinder mounted on tracks Recycler as well as a Horizontal Whole Tree Chipper was used for chipping the bulk of the trees and bush. Five hand fed Chippers were used alongside the haul roads to make fire breaks. An average of 7 Hectares a day was cleared. In December 2006 a fire swept through the valley, putting a temporary halt to the clearing process. Site Force cc & Fastfell cc completed the clearing contract in early 2007.
Facts on Berg River Dam
• The Berg River Dam with a gross capacity of 130 million m³
• A supplement scheme including
– A diversion weir across the Berg River
– A four hectare balancing dam
– A pump station
– A 12km pipeline infrastructure
Its measurements are:
• Full supply level – 250m above sea level
• Surface area – 488ha
• Volume rock fill – 3, 3 million m³
• Gross storage capacity – 130 million m³
• Net storage capacity – 129, 4 million m³
• Maximum dam height – 63m (70m including foundation)
• Length of dam wall – 929m
• Multi-level inlet tower – 63m