The undertaking forms part of government’s Strategic Integrated Projects, specifically SIP 18, which focuses on the delivery of water and sanitation to all in South Africa.
The Mzimvubu project will include the construction of two dams in Ntabelanga on the Tsitsa River, north of Mthatha, which will be used for domestic and agricultural water supply requirements.
The Ntabelanga Dam will store approximately 490 million cubic meters of water. Once completed, it will become the 10th largest dam in South Africa.
The Laleni Dam will be used for hydro power generation. It has the potential to generate 35MW of base power, or up to 180MW of peak power when operated jointly with Ntabelanga.
About 18,5km of power lines will be erected to feed the power onto the national power grid.
The Mzimvubu Water Project also entails the building of a hydropower plant at Laleni, bulk water distribution infrastructure and infield irrigation developments in the area.
“The project is expected to create about 6 700 jobs per annum during the construction phase and 6 500 jobs per annum during the operational phase,” said President Zuma at the sod-breaking ceremony.
Three districts – OR Tambo, Alfred Nzo and Joe Gqabi – will benefit from the project, which aims to serve over 720 000 households.
Construction of the dam and associated works and infrastructure is expected to start in November.