MINISTER IVAN MEYER HANDSOVER R50m MEERLUSTKLOOF AND MEUL RIVER PROJECTSCasidra
On Tuesday, 22 September 2021, the Western Cape Minister for Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, officially handed over the Meerlustkloof and Meul Project near Genadendal in the Overberg Region to the Zonderend Water User Association.
Speaking at the handover of the R 50 million projects, Minister Meyer congratulated the project team consisting of officials of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA), Ruwacon Engineering and Martin & East for the construction and CASIDRA for the construction project management.
Meyer: “We are celebrating the completion of a successful project. Completing the project was possible because competent and committed officials and partners affected the design and scope of the project.”
Local farmer Carl van Lingen applauded the collaborative approach adopted by WCDoA.
Van Lingen: “This project rejuvenated my faith in government. We now have a secured river. The risk of hectares being washed away and sludge in the river is now greatly reduced.”
Meyer continues: “The Elandskloof River and Meul River are important tributaries for the Riversonderend River. The Riversonderend River, 140km in length, is an important water source for the agriculture sector in the Overberg district. It provides water to about 107 irrigation farmers with approximately 6017 ha during summer and 1389 ha during winter. In addition, the river is critical to support ecological functioning and services in the region.”
Planning and prioritisation of the projects were done by the WCDoA’s Sustainable Resource Use and Management in collaboration with the now-retired Professional Engineer, Mr Hans King. He was responsible for the design of the groynes and weir.
King: “This weir replaces the sand-based weir that the farmer built to get water into his canal. This project now formalises the arrangement in respect of the water.”
Commenting on the importance of river protection, WCDOA’s Disaster Risk Manager, Jody Wentzel, highlights that river protection is vital to support our ecological infrastructure.
Wentzel: ” Protection works are important for securing ecological infrastructure that will also sustain agriculture. The added spin-off is that the two projects created 61 employment opportunities during the construction and rehabilitation phases.”
“The river protection works project restores ecological infrastructure, increases productivity and socio-ecological resilience and adopts collaborative, integrated catchment management to improve water security and job creation,” concludes Meyer.