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									                                                PB V000-00-6200




       Republic of South Africa
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry

       Thukela Water Project
                  Feasibility
                       Study
            Environmental Feasibility
                     Summary Report
                                        Volume 1

                                    March 2001




                                           Prepared by the:
                                      TWP Feasibility Study
                                  Project Management Team
                                           c/o PO Box 3173
                                                PRETORIA
                                                       0001
                                       Tel: (012) 421-3873
                                       Fax: (012) 421-3895
                                                              VB39_2001
March 2001                                                                            PB V000-00-6200
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       THUKELA WATER PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDY




                ENVIRONMENTAL FEASIBILITY STUDY
                       SUMMARY REPORT


                                          March 2001




Prepared by:            Thukela Water Project Management Team
                        c/o BKS Water Division
                        PO Box 3173
                        PRETORIA
                        0001

For:                    The Director
                        Directorate Project Planning
                        Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
                        Private Bag X313
                        PRETORIA
                        0001
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This report is to be referred in bibliographies as:

Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South Africa. 2001. Thukela Water Project
(TWP) Feasibility Study. Environmental Feasibility Study Summary Report. Prepared
by the TWP Project Management Team, as part of the TWP Feasibility Study. DWAF
Report No. PBV000-00-6200.




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                                                                    STRUCTURE OF REPORTS



                                                                           FEASIBILITY                        SUMMARY
   MAIN REPORT




                                                                            REPORT
                                                                                                           PB V000-00-9600
                                                                        PB V000-00-9700
   MODULE REPORTS




                               ENGINEERING REPORT                    WATER RESOURCES               ENVIRONMENTAL                  ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL
                                                                          REPORT                       REPORT                        VIABILITY REPORT
                                   PB V000-00-3199                    PB V000-00-5599              PB V000-00-6200                    PB V000-00-9100




                                                  EVALUATION OF                      PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT            REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
                                                  ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF             PROGRAMME
                                                  WATER FOR LADYSMITH-               PB V000-00-8900               PB V000-00-8799
                                                  EMNAMBITHI
                                                                                     DECISION REGISTER &           LEGAL, INSTITUTIONAL &
                                                  PB V000-00-6099                    ARCHIVING                     HYDROPOLITICAL
                                                                                     BIBLIOGRAPHY                  ASPECTS
                                                                                     PB V000-00-9000               PB V000-00-9900




                              - Geology                             - System Model                    Background Document &
   SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION




                              - Design Criteria                     - Klip vs Jana yield curves       Environmental Issues Report
                              - Klip vs Jana site selection         - Water resources
                              - Flood Hydrology                       evaluation report               BASELINE STUDIES
                              - Dam type selection                                                    - Lake environments
                              - Outlet works                                                          - Plant diversity
                              - Spillways                                                             - Faunal diversity
                              - Pump stations                                                         - Natural Resource utilization
                              - Aqueducts                                                             - Tourism
                              - Access Roads                                                          - Visual impact
                              - Labour-enhanced                                                       - Cultural history
                                construction                                                          - Archaeological
                              - Resource based costing                                                - Human health
                              - Review Panel Reports                                                  - Vaal River receiving environment
                                                                                                      - Hydrology
                                                                                                      - Geomorphology
                                                                                                      - Downstream impacts
                                                                                                      - Migration

                                                                                                      Social Impact Assessment

                                                                                                      Instream Flow, Estuarine
                                                                                                      Freshwater Requirements &
                                                                                                      Reserve Considerations




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                                    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


      This final summary report of the Environmental Feasibility Investigation for the Thukela
      Water Project, is the last distillation and explanation of what are considered to be
      some of the key aspects and core information, that impacts on the environmental
      feasibility of the project. All this data and information was gathered and compiled over
      a period of two years or more, and to say that the strategic scope and physical extent
      of the issues that had to be considered, was far-reaching, would not be an
      overstatement.

      Such a task cannot be fulfilled by one person and it is therefore fitting that certain
      individuals are acknowledged who contributed in a fundamental way to ensure that the
      operation could be completed.

      The TWP Project Management Team, who prepared this summary report, wish to
      acknowledge the work of the staff of the Institute of Natural Resources in
      Pietermaritzburg. It was their responsibility to collect and format the inputs of all the
      specialists who had been engaged to complete the baseline studies. This summary
      report is based on a first environmental feasibility report (Volume 2) produced by the
      INR, from the specialist baseline studies commissioned on behalf of the TWP. The
      work and inputs of Mesdames Jenny Mander and Fonda Lewis and Mr Dave Cox must
      therefore be acknowledged.




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                                               SUMMARY


      There was nothing that was found in the investigation of the environmental feasibility of
      the TWP, that would clearly indicate that the project should immediately be abandoned
      or that there was high risk in proceeding with it to the next phases of environmental
      assessment, planning, design and implementation. What was found, was that there
      are indications of some fairly serious and significant factors which should be
      investigated in much more detail, from an environmental perspective, before the final
      decision is made to proceed with implementation of the project.

      The TWP is a very large and complex development project, originating from policy
      level decisions within the national government. These policies relate not only to
      strategic water supply but also job creation, land reform, economic empowerment of
      previously disadvantaged people, elimination of discrimination and establishment of
      equity in natural resource utilisation also have to be considered. The project will have
      profound effects at different levels and in many different ways over a long period of
      time, and will directly affect the quality of life of large numbers of people. There is thus
      a very specific onus on the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to ensure that
      these environmental considerations are accorded appropriate attention and respect in
      the administrative processes and planning activities supporting the project.

      The environmental feasibility of the TWP has been assessed at three levels:

      •    national strategic policy level;
      •    regional development level;
      •    site specific level.

      The TWP the following factors were found to be of particular importance.


      National policy level

      •    The Reserve for the Thukela River and its tributaries is not yet determined.
      •    A formal strategy for the management of the water resources of the Thukela River,
           as part of a national water resource strategy, has still to be established.
      •    If a decision was made not to augment the water supplies from the Vaal River
           System, it is highly probable that a slump in the national economy could occur
           primarily as a result of water shortages. There would be job losses and increasing
           levels of unemployment, increased inflation, reduction in disposable incomes, and
           a shortage of funds (through taxes) for national development initiatives.
      •    Implementation of the TWP could result in increased political tension between
           National, Provincial and local government unless appropriate liaison takes place.
      •    International and domestic pressure relating to the construction of large dams may
           be brought to bear on DWAF specifically, and the Government in general, that
           might postpone or even stop the implementation of the TWP.
      •    Issues around the effects of AIDS are not yet fully understood.
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      Regional level

      •    A comprehensive understanding of the sedimentological processes in the Thukela
           River, their cause and effect, is essential and of fundamental importance to a full
           understanding of the feasibility of the TWP. In this study, work on the subject was
           started but much still remains to be done.
      •    The TWP presents a notable opportunity to stimulate and kick start considerable
           development and economic empowerment in the uThukela Region. However, this
           is unlikely to occur if comprehensive regional development plans and integrated
           strategic plans and spatial planning for regional and local government structures
           are not drawn up and implemented. To do this effectively, will require proactive
           participation within the TWP institutional framework, to take a lead and accept joint
           responsibility in social upliftment programmes.            This must involve other
           government departments, and the TWP must participate in, fund and facilitate
           what is in effect co-operative governance programme. This will need an urgent
           and strategic policy decision from DWAF and probably at Cabinet level to make it
           possible. It would be an effective way of ensuring effective communication, liaison
           and joint action by national, provincial and local government departments (e.g. co-
           ordination of budgeting procedures and spending).
      •    Unacceptable levels of crime and security may occur, as a result of poverty, AIDS
           orphans, and migration and easier access throughout the region, related to the
           implementation of the TWP and the investment in infrastructure and other
           services. To combat this will need policing, tied in with regional development
           planning and implementation of integrated strategic town and regional planning
           principles into all aspects of project planning activities. There will also have to be
           effective communication, liaison and joint action by national, provincial and local
           government departments (e.g. co-ordination of budgeting procedures and
           spending).


      Site specific impacts

      •    Initial investigations have revealed that with the construction of Jana Dam and
           flooding of the basin, will bring about the loss of a large contiguous area of
           northern Valley Bushveld in the Jana Basin, which is an endemic and threatened
           veld type in KwaZulu-Natal. Not much is known of the terrestrial ecology of the
           Jana basin and only a very limited survey of the basin was possible during the
           feasibility study. It was found that there may be a reduction of population sizes of
           plants and animals, and associated disruption of the ecosystem, genetic
           impoverishment and species extinction. Loss of important and threatened animal
           species will also take place and there are indications of new undiscovered species
           being lost as well. This issue is even more important because of certain legal
           principles enumerated in NEMA, and international agreements on biodiversity, of
           which South Africa is a signatory.
      •    There will be economic, physical and cultural disruption to people, from the
           construction of TWP infrastructure, flooding as the impoundments are formed and
           other operational aspects of the project. Approximately 74 private landowners,
           approximately 40 labourer families, 2 tenant families, and up to 450 households in
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      •    both dam basins and along the aqueducts may be affected either economically or
           physically. Both communal subsistence agriculture and commercial farming
           enterprises will be affected. This includes arable land and grazing land.
      •    Both compensation and relocation will have to be considered. The issue of
           relocation or resettlement is a highly emotive and sensitive one. The whole
           process will have to be planned carefully, transparently and inclusively. If not
           handled properly, it has the potential to substantially disrupt the implementation of
           the TWP.




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             THUKELA WATER PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDY


     ENVIRONMENTAL FEASIBILITY STUDY SUMMARY REPORT


                                          CONTENTS

                                                                                         page

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                                                                vi

SUMMARY                                                                                         vii

CONTENTS                                                                                        x

GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS                                                          xii

FIGURES                                                                                         xiii


1     PURPOSE AND NEED                                                                          1

2     DESCRIPTION OF THE THUKELA WATER PROJECT                                                  2
      2.1 Policy considerations                                                                 2
      2.2 Regional development                                                                  3
      2.3 Description of infrastructure                                                         3

3     THE BASIS FOR INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
      FOR THE TWP                                                                               6
      3.1 Approach                                                                              6
      3.2 Environmental issues                                                                  9
          3.2.1 National policy or multi-regional issues                                        10
          3.2.2 Regional level                                                                  10
          3.2.3 Site specific level                                                             12
      3.4 Alternatives                                                                          12
          3.4.1 Alternatives at national policy and multi-regional level                        13
          3.4.2 Regional development alternatives                                               13
          3.4.3 Site specific options                                                           14
      3.5 Assessment methodology                                                                15
      3.6 Assumptions, limitations and exclusions                                               16

4     DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT                                                            17
      4.1 National level                                                                        17
      4.2 Regional level                                                                        20
      4.3 Site specific level                                                                   21
      4.4 The Thukela River                                                                     23
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5     ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF THE TWP                                                      25
      5.1 National level                                                                       26
          5.1.1 Impacts on the receiving environment                                           26
          5.1.2 Legal and administrative framework                                             27
          5.1.3 Political aspects                                                              28
          5.1.4 Legal protection of rivers                                                     29
          5.1.5 Large dams                                                                     29
          5.1.6 Reserve                                                                        30
          5.1.7 AIDS                                                                           30
          5.1.8 Decision record                                                                31
          5.1.9 Non-augmentation                                                               32
      5.2 Regional level                                                                       32
          5.2.1 Sedimentology                                                                  33
          5.2.2 Thukela Banks                                                                  33
          5.2.3 Support infrastructure                                                         34
          5.2.4 Export of Thukela River water                                                  35
          5.2.5 Crime and security                                                             36
          5.2.6 Forward and backward linkages                                                  37
          5.2.7 Migration                                                                      38
          5.2.8 Public health and disease                                                      39
          5.2.9 Environmental indicators                                                       40
          5.2.10 Natural resource utilisation                                                  40
          5.2.11 Tourism                                                                       42
          5.2.12 Legal and administrative factors                                              43
      5.3 Site specific level                                                                  44
          5.3.1 Dam basins and riverine habitats                                               44
          5.3.2 Compensation                                                                   46

6     CLOSING REMARKS                                                                          48
      6.1 The way forward                                                                      49




                                       LIST OF TABLES

Table 3.1 Conventions for definitions and terminology




                                       LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1    Location map
Figure 2    TWP Timeline




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            GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS



            CFRD         Concrete Faced Rockfill Dam
            DAEA         KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs
            DEAT         Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
            DPSS         Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme
            DWAF         Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
            EIA          Environmental Impact Assessment
            EMC          Environmental Management Class
            FSL          Full Supply Level
            GDP          Gross Domestic Product
            GGP          Gross Geographic Product
            I&APs        Interested and Affected Parties
            IEM          Integrated Environmental Management
            IFR          Instream Flow Requirements
            KZN          KwaZulu-Natal
            LHWP         Lesotho Highlands Water Project
            MAR          Mean Annual Runoff
            NWA          National Water Act
            NWRS         National Water Resource Strategy
            PIP          Public Involvement Programme
            PMF          Probable Maximum Flood
            RCC          Roller Compacted Concrete
            RDP          Reconstruction and Development Programme
            RMF          Regional Maximum Flood
            SADC         Southern African Development Community
            SEA          Strategic Environmental Assessment
            TVTS         Thukela-Vaal Transfer Scheme
            TWP          Thukela Water Project
            VAPS         Vaal Augmentation Planning Study
            VRS          Vaal River System
            VRSA         Vaal River Supply Area
            VRSS         Vaal River Supply System
            WCD          World Commission on Dams




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                DEPARTMENT OF WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY
                 THUKELA WATER PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDY

        VOLUME 1: ENVIRONMENTAL FEASIBILITY SUMMARY REPORT



1.          PURPOSE AND NEED

            The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) is entrusted with the
            responsibility to protect, use, develop, conserve, manage and control the water
            resources of South Africa, in a manner which is both sustainable and equitable,
            and for the benefit of all the people of the country. The provision of adequate
            supplies of water in the Vaal River System (VRS) has enjoyed the highest priority
            within DWAF for many decades. This is because the economic heartland of
            South Africa relies on this source. Augmentation of water supplies to the VRS
            has taken place over many years and continues to enjoy priority in strategic
            water resource planning within DWAF.

            The Vaal River System supplies water to an area that produces more than 50 %
            of South Africa’s economic wealth and supports a major part of the population.
            The area includes all or portions of six provinces namely: Gauteng, Free State,
            Mpumalanga, Northwest, Northern Cape and the Northern Province. It is also
            the region where the large thermal power stations which produce 85% of South
            Africa’s electricity supply are situated.

            Due to expected increases in population, increasing urbanisation, improved
            water supply and sanitation standards and economic and industrial growth in the
            region, the assured, low risk supply capacity of the Vaal River System is likely to
            be exceeded by water increasing requirements sometime after the year 2005.
            The Vaal Augmentation Planning Study (VAPS) was initiated by DWAF in 1994
            to provide a comprehensive and sound basis for decisions that have to be made
            at national government level, concerning the best means of managing water
            supplies to the Vaal River System. VAPS was part of on-going water resource
            development and management planning at a national level and included
            consideration of such wide ranging options as non-augmentation, demand
            management, unconventional sources such as the desalination of sea water,
            importation of water from sources outside of South Africa, e.g. the Lesotho
            Highlands and inter-basin transfers within South Africa. One of the latter options
            was to investigate the feasibility of storing excess water in the Thukela River
            basin and to then transfer about 15 m3/s via the existing Drakensberg Pumped
            Storage Scheme to the Vaal River System when required.

            The so-called Thukela Water Project Feasibility Study (TWP) was therefore
            commissioned with the intention of investigating all the factors that might affect
            the viability of development proposals for the Thukela River. The intention was
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            that the TWP Feasibility Study should provide DWAF with the information and
            data, necessary for a strategic decision to be made as to whether the TWP ought
            to be implemented, to augment the water resources of the Vaal River System.


2.          DESCRIPTION OF THE THUKELA WATER PROJECT

            The TWP must be assessed at three levels or tiers of decision-making. In this
            way the environmental effects at a project or site specific level can be interpreted
            and assessed within a framework created by higher order development policies
            and strategies.


2.1         Policy considerations

            The TWP is an option for augmenting the water supplies in the Vaal River
            System. As such it is part of a National Water Resource Strategy, consisten with
            the framework of existing government policy. To therefore consider the TWP as
            simply the development of certain large elements of infrastructure would not be
            correct. To achieve its purpose, the TWP must be considered in terms of
            policies, programmes, projects, processes and activities if it is to be successfully
            implemented; all of which will influence, and will be influenced by a decision to
            implement a large project such as the TWP.

            Of prime importance are the principles on which the National Water Act is
            based, i.e. that the nation's water resources have to be protected, used,
            developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a manner which promotes the
            efficient, sustainable and beneficial use of water in the public interest, facilitating
            social and economic development, providing for growing demand for water use
            and managing floods and droughts.

            Over the last five years, the development policies of the South African
            Government have been driven by a number of objectives, which must be
            reflected in all development proposals and planning considerations, now and for
            many years to come, namely:

            •    meeting basic human needs;
            •    addressing and reversing inequalities in the distribution of wealth and
                 access to and use of natural resources;
            •    economic empowerment of previously disadvantaged individuals;
            •    facilitating development that is socially, economically and environmentally
                 sustainable;
            •    land reform;
            •    the establishment of suitable institutions that have appropriate community,
                 racial and gender representation in order to achieve all of the above.



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2.2         Regional development

            Implementation of the TWP would create an outstanding opportunity to drive
            development in many sectors in the uThukela Region of KwaZulu-Natal. The
            basis for this will be the infrastructure and support services that are needed for
            mainly the construction phase, but also during the operational life of the TWP. It
            would be development that would be integral part of the social, physical, spatial,
            environmental, economic and institutional components of the TWP initiative. A
            number of regional development opportunities have been identified which should
            be deliberately coordinated with the implementation and operation of the TWP to
            ensure maximum advantage for the region, i.e:

            •    community development and welfare issues;
            •    tourism;
            •    commercial development;
            •    industrial development;
            •    agriculture;
            •    training and capacity building;
            •    infrastructure development (water and electricity supply);
            •    materials procurement.


2.3         Main Scheme components

            The TWP (Figure 1), been planned to deliver water at a rate of 15m³/s to the
            Kilburn Dam for transfer to the Vaal River System. The following main
            components will be required and their sizes will be determined by clarification of
            a number of uncertainties such as the Reserve for the Thukela River system and
            optimisation of the system operation.

2.3.1       Two large storage dams sized to supply a total of 15m³/s;

            •    Jana Dam in the Thukela River which is situated approximately 30km south-
                 east of Ladysmith and 15km downstream of the confluence of the Thukela
                 and Klip Rivers, examined over a range of storage capacities from 920
                 million m3 to 2 500 million m3.




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   Mean annual runoff:
   Sediment load delivery:                                1 446 x 106m3
                                                     1.64 x 106m3 per annum
   Wall Height                       135m                    160m                    190m
   Full supply level: (FSL)       835m amsl               860m amsl               890m amsl
   Storage capacity:              920 x 106m3            1 469 x 106m3           2 500 x 106m3
   Surface area at FSL              1 900ha                 2750 ha                 3 880ha
   Crest length:                     565m                    640m                    780m
   Type of dam:               Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) Dam or Concrete-faced Rockfill
                              Dam (CFRD)
   Concrete quantities:                               2.8 million m³ (RCC)    4.5 million m³ (RCC)
   Construction cost:             R 1.2 billion           R1.5 billion             R2 billion




            •      Mielietuin Dam in the Bushmans River, situated between Weenen and
                   Estcourt, and immediately upstream of the western boundary of the Weenen
                   Nature Reserve, examined over a range of storage capacities from 250
                   million m3 to 465 million m3.



    Mean annual runoff:
    Sediment delivery:                                        288 x 106m3
                                                        0.14 x 106m3 per annum
    Wall Height                           77m                   87m                     95m
    Full supply level:                1 015m amsl           1 025m amsl            1 033m amsl
    Storage capacity:                 250 x 106 m3          350 x 106 m3           465 x 106 m3
    Surface area:                        875ha                1 220ha                1 500ha
    Crest length:                        500m                  800m                   1 200m
    Type of dam:                             Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) Arch Dam
                                                      Central spillway (60m long)
    Concrete quantities:                                    290 x 10³ m³           360 x 10³ m³
    Construction cost:                                      R300 million           R400 million



2.3.2       Aqueducts linking the proposed dams and the existing Kilburn Dam from which
            water will be transferred to the Vaal River System via the existing Drakensberg
            Pumped Storage Scheme

             Three options for aqueducts were investigated:


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            •    A single pipeline ranging from 1.6 to 3.4m diameter or double pipeline along
                 the same route (Preferred Option at end of Feasibility Study);
            •    Open canals (with limited lengths of tunnel, pipeline and inverted siphon);
            •    A combination of open canals and pipelines.

            The overall length of the pipeline option from Jana and Mielietuin Dams to
            Kilburn Dam would be 121km. This includes a deep cut or tunnel (approximately
            1km long and 20m deep) about 12km east-south-east of Kilburn Dam. A fenced
            servitude of about 30m width is required during construction while a permanent
            unfenced servitude of approximately 20m would be required after construction,
            without a service road. The pipeline will be buried approximately 1.8m below the
            land surface. Large on site construction camps are not envisaged. In order to
            maximise local development arising from the TWP, accommodation for the work
            force on the dam sites as well as the aqueducts, will be situated in existing towns
            wherever possible. In this way the local economies of Estcourt, Weenen,
            Colenso, Ladysmith, Bergville and Winterton can benefit. After completion of the
            project, the infrastructure will be available for long term use.

            At the end of construction, any infrastructure that cannot be put to long-term
            beneficial use will be demolished or dismantled and the land reinstated for reuse.

            The construction time required for a pipeline aqueduct is likely to be about three
            years with construction taking place at a number of headings concurrently. Pipe
            laying would proceed at a rate of about three weeks per kilometre of pipe. The
            construction of the pipeline aqueduct would include the construction of valve
            chambers, crossings under roads and railways, scour outlets and river crossings,
            surge protection devices, flow metering equipment and inspection access
            facilities. There would be a pump station at each dam plus two intermediate
            pump stations along the route of the pipeline.

            The overall length of the canal option from Jana and Mielietuin Dams to Kilburn
            Dam would be approximately 196km. This includes a 6.7km tunnel between
            Jana Dam and the aqueduct junction south of Colenso, and a 6.4 km tunnel at
            Mielietuin Dam to avoid the need for the canal to pass through the Weenen
            Nature Reserve.

            A fenced construction servitude of 100m wide would be required and after
            completion completion a, permanent servitude of 40 to 80m wide would be
            required, depending on cross-slopes and bends in the canal alignment. A
            permanent service road would be required within the canal servitude which
            would be fenced.

            Construction of the TWP could take eight to ten years to complete. The date of
            commencement would depend on water requirements in the Vaal River System,
            and the suitability and attractiveness of other major augmentation alternatives.
            Indications are that construction could start in 2003 at the earliest.

            A graphic outline of the timing of the main activities, should a decision be made
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            to proceed with implementation of the TWP, is provided in Figure 2. This
            diagram is based on the assumption that the first water must flow from the TWP
            to the Vaal River System during the year 2011. This is the best available
            estimate of timing and any change will materially affect programming of all the
            work.




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3.          THE BASIS FOR INTEGRATED ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT FOR THE
            TWP


3.1         Approach

            DWAF is committed to, the principles of Integrated Environmental Management
            (IEM) in undertaking feasibility investigations of the TWP (see box on next page).
            IEM is a philosophy which prescribes a code of practice for ensuring that
            environmental considerations are fully integrated into all stages of the
            development process in order to achieve a desirable balance between
            conservation and development (Department of Environment Affairs, 1992). A
            number of fundamental guiding principles provide the value system which
            underpins IEM. These are outlined below and have become entrenched in
            environmental management practice.

            Whilst IEM procedures should be adapted to suit particular circumstances, the
            principles of IEM should not be compromised. In the case of the TWP, a very
            large inter-catchment water transfer project on national scale, an IEM procedure
            that provides a framework for assessing the wider implications of the project and
            not only foccused on site specific issues was adopted.

            Because of its size and matching complexity, the TWP was considered and
            assessed at national, regional and local different development and planning
            levels. Information and data on the TWP was provided to DWAF in a form that
            supported strategic decisions concerning the manner in which water supplies
            available from the Vaal River should be augmented. However, the transfer of
            water from the Thukela Basin is bound to have large regional effects which will
            influence development patterns within the uThukela Region and in KwaZulu-
            Natal. Operation of the dams and aqueduct system will have downstream
            impacts as will their construction and operation have direct site specific impacts.

            Sustainability criteria, the impact of policy, cumulative effects, environmental
            capacity, secondary development, as well as site specific impacts from the
            construction and operation of very large infrastructural development in the upper
            Thukela River catchment, have all been taken into account in the assessment
            process.

            One of the major steps in the IEM procedure is Environmental Impact
            Assessment (EIA), i.e. the process of examining the environmental effects
            arising from the project. EIA’s tend to focus on discreet events, at a project level
            of development, and on the mitigation of impacts of proposed activities.
            Because of the limitations of project specific EIA’s, a Strategic Environmental
            Assessment (SEA) has been undertaken to ensure that all the alternatives and
            impacts relevant to sustainability at a policy and planning level are considered.
            SEA and EIA have therefore been applied to the different stages of development



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            planning and decision-making as described in Figure 3.1. This tiered approach
            provides the framework against which the TWP is assessed.


                      Principles of Integrated Environmental Management

      •     informed decision-making
      •     a broad understanding of the term environment, that includes physical, biological, social,
            economic, cultural, historical and political components
      •     accountability for decisions and for the information on which they are based
      •     an open, transparent and participatory approach
      •     ongoing consultation with interested and affected parties (I&APs)
      •     due consideration of alternative options
      •     democratic regard for individual rights and obligations
      •     integration of a wide range of environmental components
      •     opportunity for public and specialist input into the decision making process




            Figure 3 : SEA and EIA in the Development Hierarchy
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      At the SEA level of investigation it is not so much a question of what effect the TWP
      will have on the environment, but rather what effect the environment will have on the
      project and other development opportunities. This is illustrated in Figure 4. By using
      SEA to address policy and multi-regional development decisions it has been possible
      to better integrate the principles of IEM into decision making around proposed policies
      and development plans.




                      Figure 4 : The relationship between EIA and SEA

            The rationale for incorporating SEA in the Environmental Feasibility Investigatino
            of the TWP was to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of assessing policies
            and development plans, by focussing attention on sustainable development and
            the cumulative environmental impacts from secondary and downstream effects
            associated with large projects.

            Should a decision be made to implement the TWP, then another aspect of IEM,
            i.e.. The concept of cradle to grave environmental management, becomes most
            important. Responsibility for the management of the environmental impacts of
            an activity extends throughout the life cycle of that activity. This responsibility
            starts with conceptualisation and planning and runs through all stages of
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            implementation, which in the case of the TWP includes construction, operation
            and eventual possible decommissioning. For this reason the environmental
            impacts of the TWP have been assessed taking this life cycle into account. The
            mitigatory actions that were identified, must be incorporated into Environmental
            Management Plans (EMP). Such programmes must detail how construction and
            operation of the project can be managed during all phases of the project life
            cycle, so that the negative environmental effects are reduced, and the benefits
            enhanced, within a structured management framework.


3.2         Environmental issues

            In any process of environmental assessment, one of the biggest challenges is to
            adequately investigate and address the legitimate concerns and the expectations
            of all the people who have an interest in or who are affected by the development
            project. If not approached in a rational and logical manner, this can become an
            impossible task. To deal with this situation, the approach adopted was driven by
            key issues. These are the issues which best reflect the different orientations of
            people, the main philosophical and institutional constraints and frameworks in
            terms of which the assessment has to be carried out, and the legitimate
            concerns and expectations articulated by different groups or people during an
            ongoing process of communication and consultation.

            Identifying and then focussing on key issues made it possible for all the concerns
            raised during the scoping process, to be noted, carefully considered and then
            incorporated into a holistic and overarching framework for environmental
            assessment. Key issues are exactly what their name implies - the keys to
            determining where the most serious impacts should be sought during the
            investigative phase of the process.

            Key issues focused the investigation, on the really relevant aspects and ensured
            that the assessment was done at an appropriate level. They determined in what
            way the assessment should be approached and also dictated which specialist or
            scientific areas needed to be addressed.

            Issues are not statements of fact or scientifically defined impacts and include
            matters related to community values, norms and needs. They reflect the current
            thinking and opinion of the Environmental Team, as to the manner in which the
            environmental assessment should be undertaken. The issues were purposely
            formulated in the form of questions and are listed below and were used as a
            framework for assessment.

            In carrying out the environmental feasibility study for the TWP, key issues were
            identified and described for the three different levels of assessment related to the
            levels of decision-making mentioned in section 2 above. The three levels of
            assessment used were:



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            •    Strategic environmental assessment
                 -   National policy and particularly the NWRS
                 -   The Vaal River System
                 -   The Province of KwaZulu-Natal
                 -   Thukela catchment

            •    Regional assessment
                 -  The upper Thukela Basin
                 -  The uThukela region and areas of economic activity around the dam
                    sites
                 -  The Thukela Banks

            •    Site specific level
                 -    Specific dam sites
                 -    Impoundment areas
                 -    Aqueduct routes and associated infrastructure (say 1 km wide)
                 -    Riverine areas, instream and along river banks
                 -    Construction areas including secondary and support infrastructure

3.2.1       National policy and multi-regional issues

            •    What effects can be expected from the export of water out of the Thukela
                 basin to the receiving economic, social and biophysical environments of the
                 Vaal River System?
            •    What is the legal and administrative framework within which decisions have
                 been made to investigate the feasibility of the TWP and in which it may have
                 to be operated?
            •    What are the possible consequences that may arise from political resistance
                 to the export of water out of KwaZulu-Natal to the Vaal River System? How
                 can this affect its long term sustainability?
            •    What legal protection is there for rivers, within the legal system of South
                 Africa at this time? Does the Thukela River merit special protection?
            •    What significant implications and consequences are there for the DWAF in
                 building and operating large dams, in a global environment where it is
                 seemingly becoming more inadmissible and inappropriate? Is such action
                 by DWAF advisable and appropriate, in the light of legal action and/or
                 international pressure, or other forces or threats which can be brought to
                 bear on the DWAF?
            •    What effect will the determination of the Reserve in the Vaal and Thukela
                 Basins have on the supply of water to the Vaal River System?
            •    What implications and consequences for the TWP should be considered,
                 both from the side of the receiving environment as well as the source
                 environment, as the spread and effect of AIDS takes hold on the country,
                 over the next two to three decades?
            •    What is the status of the decision record, relating to policy options
                 considered by DWAF for future augmentation of water to the Vaal River
                 System?

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            •    What are the implications of non-augmentation for the economy of the
                 country?

3.2.2       Regional level

            •    The TWP is a major intervention into the functioning of natural and social
                 systems. What effect will;
                 -    sedimentological processes in the catchment,
                 -    natural functioning of a river the size and nature of the Thukela,
                 -    regional and local human activity and development, and
                 -    biodiversity considerations
                 have on the construction, commissioning, operation and de-commissioning
                 of the project?
            •    What effect will there be on the natural, social and economic environments
                 of the Thukela Banks resulting from changes in the flow regime of
                 freshwater to the mouth of the Thukela River during construction,
                 commissioning, operation and de-commissioning of the TWP?
            •    How will the regulation of the Thukela River impact on the freshwater
                 requirements of the Thukela estuary and the associated wildlife?
            •    What effect will the provision of support infrastructure for the project, such as
                 roads and power supply, have on the biophysical environment, people, and
                 regional development of the areas surrounding the dam sites, aqueduct
                 routes and the Thukela catchment as a whole? Are there possible benefits
                 for the region to be derived from utilising or expanding the support
                 infrastructure and services both during and after completion of construction
                 of the project?
            •    In what way will the economic development of the uThukela Region and
                 KwaZulu-Natal be affected by the export of water out of the Thukela
                 catchment? What is the opportunity cost to KwaZulu-Natal of exporting
                 water out of the province?
            •    How much and in what way will the local economy be affected by the
                 construction of dams and aqueduct routes? What will the economic effect
                 be on centres such Ladysmith, Colenso, Winterton and Bergville?
            •    In what way will current levels of crime and security in the region be
                 influenced by the TWP?
            •    What are the social, economic, and biophysical forward and backward
                 linkages of the project on the regional resource use and development
                 activities in the Thukela catchment and KwaZulu-Natal?
            •    Will the development affect the movement and migration of people within the
                 catchment area of the Thukela River? How does this fit in with the existing
                 regional planning scenarios? Will the project add to or detract from
                 sustainable development in the region? How will this affect the main
                 environmental factors such (e.g. land degradation and resource use)?
            •    In what way will the TWP affect the current and future projects associated
                 with the Government’s Land Reform Programme?
            •    What are the social, economic and biophysical practices in the upper
                 catchment which are likely to negatively impact on the long term
                 sustainability of the scheme?
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            •    Will the construction of the proposed dams result in the loss of habitat which
                 is unique and threatened? What is the significance of this for biodiversity?
            •    What are the public health and disease impacts associated with the scheme,
                 including HIV AIDS, in the regional context?
            •    What is the carrying capacity of the biophysical, social and economic
                 environment within which the scheme will be developed and have to
                 operate? In what way will the project affect the carrying capacity?
            •    What are the most important environmental indicators that should be used to
                 monitor the long term effects and sustainability of the scheme?
            •    What will the impact of the TWP be on natural resource utilisation in the
                 Thukela Basin? Specifically, what effect will there be on resource supply
                 and the future consumption of basic goods, game carrying capacity and
                 game hunting enterprises, micro-enterprises associated with natural
                 products, and options for further use?
            •    What are the implications of the TWP for eco-tourism in the upper Thukela
                 Basin? How will tourism based on important historical, archaeological and
                 cultural sites in the region be influenced?
            •    What important legal and administrative factors should be considered at a
                 regional level to ensure that the TWP is constructed and operated in an
                 environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner?
            •    Will the loss of land, habitat and scenic landscape materially affect either
                 present or future land use options?


3.2.3       Site specific level

            •    What will the direct effects of the construction, commissioning and operation
                 of the dams and aqueduct routes be on existing infrastructure and access,
                 the biophysical environment and the directly affected people?
            •    What effects will the provision of roads and other new infrastructure such as
                 pump stations and powerlines have on the people and the biophysical
                 environment ?
            •    What will be the effect of construction and operation of the dams on the
                 ecosystems and organisms in the dam basins and downstream riverine (and
                 aquatic) habitats?
            •    What recommendations should be made to DWAF for the following:
                 -    compensation for loss of arable land, fixed property or other similar loss
                      of patrimony
                 -    resettlement as a result of the construction of infrastructure, flooding or
                      other operational aspects of the TWP.
            •    What environmental management systems and plans need to be put in
                 place for the management of impacts during construction and operation of
                 the scheme?
            •    What are the environmental impacts associated with construction in
                 particular and what management framework is needed for:
                 -    Construction camps
                 -    Personnel accommodation

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                 -    Batching plants
                 -    Earthworks
                 -    Concrete construction
                 -    Administration
                 -    Transportation
                 -    Quarrying or borrow activities
                 -    Solid waste disposal
                 -    Water use
                 -    Transportation
                 -    Dust
            •    Large quantities of water with significant energy levels will have to be
                 returned over the dam spillways into a relatively narrow river course in a
                 steep-sided gorge during times of high flood. This will raise major operating
                 concerns and risks. What environmental effects are associated with these
                 high risk situations?


3.3         Alternatives

            The identification and examination of alternatives is a fundamental component of
            environmental assessment. Decision-makers must be provided with information
            that compares alternative courses of action. When a decision on a particular
            course of action is made there should be little doubt as to who bears the
            responsibility and what the implications and consequences of the decision are
            likely to be in terms of biophysical, social, economic, historical, cultural and
            political factors.

            The TWP is a very large and complex development project which emanated from
            decisions made on water resource policies and implementation of strategies
            within the national administrative structures of government. It is a project that
            will have profound effects at different levels and in many different ways over a
            long period of time. When carrying out the assessment of environmental impacts
            for the TWP it was not appropriate to limit these to site specific or project specific
            alternatives.

            The consideration of alternatives in the environmental assessment process, was
            aligned to the three planning and developmental levels that were used in the
            identification and categorisation of issues, namely, alternatives related to:

            •    National policy and multi-regional development;
            •    Regional development;
            •    Site specific options;

            The alternatives used in the TWP assessment are described in more detail
            below.

3.3.1       Alternatives at national policy and multi-regional level

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            Augmentation of water supplies to the Vaal River System has taken place over
            many years and has always enjoyed priority in strategic water resource planning
            within DWAF. Over many years DWAF has identified and evaluated many
            options, and implemented some schemes, to ensure that there is an adequate
            supply of water from the Vaal River System. These options do not all represent
            projects as such, but from different methods of carrying out the policy national
            water resources strategy, approved by government, to augment water supplies
            from the Vaal River System (VRS).

            In this assessment the TWP was compared at a national policy level with the
            alternatives listed below, for satisfying the water requirements from the VRS. The
            identity given to each option is shown in small caps below.

            •    Inter-basin transfers within South Africa (THE TWP)
            •    Non-augmentation (NON AUGMENTATION)
            •    Demand management (DEMAND MANAGEMENT)
            •    Importation of water from outside of South Africa, e.g. Lesotho Highlands
                 (IMPORTATION)

            The consideration of these alternatives was taken up in a Strategic
            Environmental Assessment (SEA).            The SEA focused on elements of
            sustainability associated with each of these alternatives, rather than direct
            environmental impacts, with significance placed on long-term secondary and
            cumulative effects and indicators of irreversible change.

3.3.2       Regional development alternatives

            If it is implemented, the TWP can become a very effective driver of primary and
            secondary development in the uThukela Region of KwaZulu-Natal. However, if
            the implementation process is not handled optimally, the potential benefits of the
            TWP on a regional scale may not be realised. In a regional context, it was
            therefore important to establish how successful the TWP would be for a realistic
            range of alternative circumstances that could prevail in the region.

            The TWP was assessed on a regional basis to provide decision-makers with an
            understanding of the development implications of the TWP and the likely
            success or failure of TWP driven development in the Region. For various
            scenarios. The identity given to each scenario is shown in small uppercase
            below.

            •    A worst case regional scenario (WORSE - DECLINE AND DEPRESSION)
            •    A probable regional scenario (MORE OF THE SAME BUT BETTER)
            •    Best case regional scenario (DIFFERENT BUT BETTER - FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE
                 OR THUKELA RENAISSANCE)

            In using these scenarios in the assessment process, it must be realised that it is
            not about predicting the future, but about considering alternatives for the future


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            To this end the key factors influencing the success or failure of the development
            must be identified. In addition, the macro economic forces behind these micro-
            environmental factors must be sought (Peter Schwartz). For this assessment
            regional economists (Urban-Econ) provided guidelines on what could be
            expected. The elements that were found to be most relevant for these scenarios
            were the following:

            Key factors
            • Political will and effectiveness of regional and local government;
            • Socio-economic factors such as land reform, legal change, poverty,
                migration, AIDS;

            Macro forces
            • Adverse and favourable climatic conditions or changes (drought, flood, and
               general climatic conditions that affect ecology and economic activity);
            • External macro economic factors (oil price, exchange rates, commodity
               prices);
            • National political strategies and development priorities.

            The three scenarios include these elements which vary from less favourable
            through probable little change, to favourable conditions. In this way a
            understanding was obtained of the circumstances under which regional
            development in the uThukela Region, based on the implementation of the TWP,
            would be robust or not.

3.3.3       Site specific options

            The alternatives assessed at a site specific level were identified using standard
            approaches for project-based EIA. These alternatives are based on factors such
            as project locality and size. The Jana and Mielietuin dam sites were chosen
            after intensive investigation and selection from many alternatives at
            reconnaissance and pre-feasibility levels of study. At each of these sites a range
            of different dam sizes were evaluated. On the aqueduct routes there have also
            been choices between canals, pipelines and a combination of these two and
            alternative route locations were considered.

            The following project level options were considered for the assessment of direct
            environmental impacts according to the issues framework presented in section
            3.2.3 above:

            •    Jana and Mielietuin Dams
                 -   Maximum dam capacity (MAX. WALL HEIGHT)
                 -   Optimal dam capacity (OPTIMAL WALL HEIGHT)
            •    Aqueduct routes
            •    Pipelines
            •    Canals


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3.4         Assessment methodology

            Environmental impacts were identified and assessed within the framework
            provided by:

            i) the boundaries of the study;
            ii) the key issues; and
            iii) the alternatives chosen and agreed upon.

            This framework was used to ensure that the assessment did not become
            unnecessarily unwieldy, difficult to control, unfocused and unmanageable. A
            number of specialist baseline studies, were commissioned to elucidate certain
            issues that were identified during the scoping phase and in some cases to
            identify, evaluate and assess environmental impacts. This summary report
            contains an analysis, evaluation and interpretation of only the most important or
            most significant impacts relating to the implementation and operation of the
            TWP. It also lists some environmental impacts that were not dealt with in the
            specialist baseline reportsbut emerged from integration of the findings of a
            number of the baseline studies for this summary report.

            In the environmental assessments for the TWP the methods used for impact
            identification and evaluation were analogues, expert opinion, literature reviews
            and to some extent, cause-effect relationships. The methods used were:

            i)  appropriate for the proposed development;
            ii) acceptable to the relevant interested and affected parties;
            iii)professionally acceptable;
            iv) relatively easy to apply;
            v)  applicable to the range of key issues and specialist investigations areas
                identified.
            vi) able to provide results that enable professional judgement to be made in
                evaluating the impacts.

            Once impacts had been identified and evaluated, their relative significance was
            assessed against criteria which included the magnitude and likelihood of the
            impact, its spatial and temporal extent, the likely degree of recovery of the
            affected environment, the value of the affected environment, the level of public
            concern, and political repercussions (Glasson, et al).

            The intention was to identify those impacts that had a high intensity, high
            probability of occurrence and a high significance. Recommendations were then
            made for management action with the objective of reducing negative impacts
            and enhancing positive impacts (benefits). Recommendations were also made
            in some cases for monitoring, review and an auditing programme for tracking the
            achievement of the mitigation objectives. The definitions and terminology used
            in the description, evaluation and assessment of environmental impacts are
            given in Table 3.1.

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3.5         Assumptions, limitations and exclusions

            The following assumptions and exclusions made when the environmental
            assessment was commissioned imposed the limitations under which the work
            was carried out:

            •    The work was carried out at a feasibility level of investigation and was thus
                 not a full environmental impact assessment.
            •    The purpose of the investigation was to highlight serious or fatal flaws that
                 might indicate where the TWP should be modified, adapted, or even
                 abandoned if necessary.
            •    At the time that the feasibility study was undertaken, decisions had not yet
                 been taken with regard to the location of secondary project infrastructure
                 and components such as access roads, construction camp sites, borrow
                 pits, and spoil dumps. The results of the feasibility studies will in fact guide
                 these choices.
            •    For terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem investigations, it is important that
                 monitoring and field studies be carried out over at least two seasonal cycles.
                 This was not possible with the feasibility study but will be included in a full
                 EIA that is scheduled for the decision support phase of the TWP.
            •    It was not possible to fully investigate the geomorphological and
                 sedimentological processes in the time available. However, a good
                 understanding was obtained of these factors which is most valuable for
                 planning the next phase of investigation.
            •    Impacts were not assessed for the following:
                 -    the environmental issues associated with the generation and supply of
                      electricity for construction and operation of the TWP;
                 -    impacts related to local suppliers of raw materials;
                 -    the human working environments at construction sites.




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       4.     DESCRIPTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT


       4.1    National level

              The TWP is a very large and complex development project, originating from
              policy level decisions within the national government. These policies relate not
              only to strategic water supply. Other policies are directed at job creation, land
              reform, economic empowerment of previously disadvantaged people, elimination
              of discrimination and establishment of equity in natural resource utilisation. The
              TWP will have profound effects at many levels and in many different ways over a
              long period of time. Government ministries such as the Department of Water
              Affairs and Forestry, are mandated to carry out and implement government
              policy, and they have a very specific obligation to see that ‘environmental
              considerations be accorded appropriate recognition and respect in the
              administrative processes in our country.’ They must see to it that there is ‘a
              change in our legal and administrative approach to environmental concerns’
              (P.J.J. Olivier JA).

              Table 3.1 Conventions for definitions and terminology used in the
                        description, evaluation and assessment of environmental
                        impacts

CATEGORY             DESCRIPTION OR DEFINITION
TYPE                 A brief written statement, conveying what environmental aspect is impacted on
                     by a particular project activity or action, or policy or statutory provision.
MAGNITUDE AND The severity of the impact
INTENSITY

  very high          -   Complete disruption of process; death of all affected organisms; total
                         demographic disruption
  high               -   Substantial process disruption, death of many affected organisms; substantial
                         social disruption
  moderate           -    Real, measurable impact, which does not alter process or demography
  low                -   Small change, often only just measurable
  no effect          -    No measurable or observable effect
  unknown            -   Insufficient information available on which to base a judgement.




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EXTENT/             The geographical extent or area over which the direct effects of the impact are
SPATIAL             discernible, i.e. the area within which natural systems or humans directly endure
SCALES              the effects of the impact.

  international     - Southern Africa
  national          - South Africa
  regional          - KwaZulu-Natal and the Thukela catchment, the uThukela region
  local             - dam basin, conveyance servitude, river reach, specific site locality
                                                                                         Continued…/…


DURATION            The term or time period over which the impact is expressed, not the time until
                    the impact is expressed. Where necessary the latter must be specified
                    separately.

  short term        - up to 5 years (or construction phase only)
  medium term       - 5 to 15 years 9 (or commissioning and early operational phases)
  long term         - > 15 years (or operational life)
SIGN                Denotes the perceived effect of the impact on the affected area

  positive (+)      beneficial impacts
  negative (-)      impacts which are deleterious
CERTAINTY           A measure of how sure, in the professional judgement of the assessor, that the
                    impact will occur or that mitigatory activity will be effective

  improbable        - low likelihood of the impact actually occurring
  probable          - distinct possibility that the impact may occur
  definite          - impact will occur regardless of prevention measures
SIGNIFICANCE        An integration (i.e. opinion) of the type, magnitude, scale and duration of the
                    impact. Judgements as to what constitutes a significant impact require
                    consideration of both context and intensity. It is the assessor’s best judgement
                    of whether the impact is important or not within the broad context in which its
                    direct effects are felt. (see Fuggle R.F. & Rabie M.A. 1992. Environmental
                    Management in South Africa. Cape Town: Juta & Co. 823)

  high              - Could (or should) block the project/policy; totally irreversible (-ve impact) or
                    provides substantial and sustained benefits (+ve impact)
  medium            - Impact requires detailed analysis and assessment, and often needs substantial
                    mitigatory actions.
  low               - Impact is real but not sufficient to alter the approach used. Probably no
                    mitigation action necessary.




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            Policy making in South Africa, has moved from an elitist approach, to an on
            process together with factors such as public choice and incremental decision-
            making. The reason for this was the change of priorities and the focus on
            reconstruction and development during the decade of the nineties. The
            challenge for development in this country remains to find an agreed way forward,
            among many differing groups and agendas, with different interests and
            responsibilities.

            It is within this context that a policy decision must be made as to whether the
            water resources of the Vaal River System should be augmented or not. The
            Vaal River System supplies water to the economic hub of the country, which is
            reported to produce more than 50% of the country’s wealth and supports a
            substantial portion of the population. Water users in this area are spread over
            portions of six provinces and include a number of strategic industries. Non-
            augmentation of the Vaal River System water supplies could result in economic
            loss and a decrease in economic growth of the national economy.

            On the other hand, cognisance must also be taken of the international debate on
            the merits of large dams in solving such problems. The international debate is
            distinctly North-centred, originating from disillusionment in developed countries
            with the outcome and legacy of some of their major water projects, and not only
            those built for water supply. It is important to understand the political context
            within which water resource issues are addressed before interpreting the
            meaning and possible outcome of the debate. The work of the World
            Commission on Dams (WCD) is only one of the factors in this debate and is
            likely to define some of the extremism (on all sides) and add rationality to what is
            currently a highly emotive discourse.

            It should be noted that up until about 1975 the idea that the resources of nature
            could be controlled and exploited for the benefit of mankind, was accepted
            worldwide. This was followed by a new approach by important actors in the
            North, e.g. funding agencies and advocacy groups (NGO’s), who took the
            position that “technology” was damaging rather than controlling environmental
            resources. This second paradigm or ethic wave has had very little impact on
            water policy in the Southern Hemisphere.

            During the 1990's a third paradigm, namely water is an economic resource, has
            a value in every context, and must carry a price to cover its full cost, seized the
            professional water community in the North. This has been totally rejected in the
            South! A fourth paradigm is now emerging worldwide: Integrated Water
            Resource Management. It is in this context that decision-makers in South Africa
            must be informed, bearing in mind the current debates at national level, with
            international thinking forming the texture of the background.

            There are two major paradigms at work in South Africa, interacting in a way
            which creates confusion and unpredictability. The first paradigm relates to the
            overall management style that is dominant in the water resources environment
            with extreme poles namely supply Side Management (mobilising more water in
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            response to escalating demand) and Demand Management (reducing the overall
            demand to coincide with the sustainability level of supply). The second paradigm
            relates to equity. The extreme poles of this debate can be understood as being
            “Centralisation” and versus “Decentralisation” in decision-making and planning,
            in association with acceptable levels of public input in both.

            At a national level, the environment within which the decisions must be made
            regarding the TWP, has two distinct parts, namely:

            •    a national policy environment in which government is tasked with the
                 responsibility of reconstruction and development, and improving the quality
                 of life for all on an equitable basis;
            •    an international environment and a global market, in which South Africa is
                 but one of many players. This brings many additional pressures to bear on
                 decision-makers, who must also consider the implications of international
                 law and best practise.


4.2         Regional level

            The uThukela Region is located on the western side of KwaZulu-Natal. It is
            bounded by the uMzinyathi Region in the north and the Indlovu Region in the
            south-east, while the western boundary is formed by the Drakensberg
            escarpment. The Drakensberg and Thukela River are the most prominent
            natural features.

            The region encompasses a total area of 11 000 km2 and in 1998 had a
            population of about 650 000 people. It is divided into three sub-regions,
            Emnambithi, Umtshezi and Okhahlamba, which incorporate a number of
            Magisterial Districts, Municipalities and Tribal Authorities.

            While the region as a whole has a strong rural character (only 26% of the
            population live in or near towns), the urban/rural ratio varies. These differences
            have led to development being approached at a sub-regional level and the
            production of individual plans for each. Other demographic characteristics of the
            region include:

            •    The high occurrence of HIV/AIDS in the area (officially 26.9% versus 8% for
                 RSA).
            •    The youthful population of the rural areas (21% are under the age of six).
            •    A current overall population growth rate estimated at 1,3%.

            The factors influencing the level of social welfare are inter-dependant and are
            closely related to the social trends that prevail in an area. These factors which
            must all be considered holistically are:

            •    There is a shortfall of educational facilities in all age groups. These

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                 inadequacies relate not only to schools, but also access to institutions,
                 training and housing for teachers.
            •    Seventeen percent of the urban population and 42% of the rural population
                 are illiterate. In order to address the situation, the KZN Department of
                 Education has launched Operation Upgrade to do literacy training in
                 Ladysmith.
            •    A lack of funding and inadequate transport makes the skills training courses
                 available in the major urban centres inaccessible to those in rural areas.
            •    The five hospitals and the majority of the 24 clinics in the region are situated
                 in the more densely populated areas, while commercial farming and land
                 reform project areas are sparsely serviced by mobile clinics.
            •    Sport facilities of a high standard are available in urban areas but are
                 accessible to few, and in rural areas the facilities are restricted to level
                 ground used as soccer and netball pitches.
            •    The 12 community halls in the region cannot support a well-developed
                 recreation programme and no library services are provided to rural schools.
            •    Unrest and violence has fragmented many communities and families and
                 resulted in an increase in the number of orphans and ‘street children’ in the
                 urban areas.

            The uThukela Region is well linked via the road network to neighbouring regions
            and the N3, which is one of the primary provincial development corridors. The
            improved road network and efficiency of road transport, in conjunction with a
            reduction in the importance of rail transport, has, however, decreased rail
            services in many of the small towns, resulting in a general decline in their
            economies. Ladysmith is the exception and has in the past grown due to its
            importance as the central development node in the region.

            The economy of the uThukela Region is proportionately smaller than that of the
            province as a whole. Despite this relative smaller size, it has experienced a
            growth rate of 2.5% per annum since the 1980s, which is greater than that of
            KwaZulu-Natal (1.7% p.a.). Job Creation has not kept pace with the rest of the
            economy and unemployment is higher than the average for KwaZulu-Natal. The
            primary economic sectors in the region include:

            •    Manufacturing
            •    Utilities
            •    Transport
            •    Trade (incl Tourism)
            •    Agriculture
            •    Construction
            •    Public service

            Tourism is a significant contributor to the region’s economy and current activities
            are focused largely on wildlife and nature, adventure activities, and historical
            tours and activities. The region is endowed with unique and diverse
            environmental resources, for example:

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            •    The Thukela River.
            •    Important biodiversity represented in a number of protected areas, notably
                 the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg Park, the Thukela Biosphere Reserve, and
                 Weenen Nature Reserve.
            •    The Drakensberg Mountain Range as a whole, which is also the source of
                 three of the provinces major rivers, the Thukela, Mkomazi and the Mzimkulu.

            •    Cultural and historical sites including Voortrekker and Anglo-Boer War
                 battlefields, African and Colonial cultural sites and museums.
            •    Agricultural activity changes significantly across the region due to the
                 variations in climatic conditions that characterise the area. Large-scale
                 commercial agriculture is situated in the higher altitudes closer to the
                 Drakensberg where moist, cooler conditions occur and taper off towards the
                 hot, drier climate experienced in the Thukela Valley where cattle, game and
                 subsistence farming prevails.


4.3         Site specific level

            The renewable natural resources on communal and privately owned lands in and
            around the dam basins are depended upon for a variety of uses. Both the Jana
            and Mielietuin sites are located in areas where ecotourism and game farming are
            the predominant landuses. The north bank of the proposed dam at Jana is
            communal land, where there is substantial dependence on harvesting of
            indigenous plant resources for household as well economic purposes.
            Indigenous plant resources provide trade and consumption opportunities without
            the need for cash, thereby presenting an important cost saving mechanism to
            rural households. These communal areas are also characterised by subsistence
            agriculture. Conversely, the south bank of the Thukela in the Jana area, the
            Mielietuin area and the aqueduct route are primarily used for commercial
            agriculture.     Resource supply, game carrying capacity, game hunting
            enterprises, household resource needs, and micro-enterprises associated with
            direct access to the natural resources, all of which are significant landuse
            activities in the area, will be affected by the flooding of the dam basins and the
            construction of the aqueduct.

            The north bank of the Thukela River is characterised by communal land tenure
            and numerous scattered rural villages. The south bank of the Jana, the Mielietuin
            Dam area, and the aqueduct route are characterised by commercial farms with
            low settlement densities. However, these commercial farms also support a
            number of farm worker families and tenant farmers. There are a number of
            existing and planned Land Reform Projects in the vicinity of the proposed TWP.

            The vegetation in the dam basins was classified by Acocks (1975) as Valley
            Bushveld, more specifically as the northern form, which is endemic to (only
            occurring in) KwaZulu-Natal. It is thus an important Provincial natural heritage
            feature. It is estimated that up to the present, a total of 500 570 ha, or 65% of
            the original veld type has been lost. If the dams are built, another 5 340 ha or
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            2% of the remaining veld type will be lost. It will thus be an accelerating factor to
            the continuing destruction of this asset, which will then be less than one-third of
            its original extent.

            A number of attractive natural features, including the Thukela Gorge and scenic
            wildlands that support a wide range of birds and mammals occur in the Jana and
            Mielietuin Basin. The Thukela River and Bushmans River are host to a range of
            tourism and recreation activities, including game farming, eco-tourism, river
            rafting and canoeing activities.

            The immediate environment of the Jana dam site is relatively remote and the
            terrain is rugged, with steep valley sides, occasionally incised by natural
            drainage channels. Consequently, the site is relatively inaccessible. The
            topography of the Jana site is defined by a distinct narrowing of the Thukela
            Gorge as the river runs south. The river channel is approximately 100m in width,
            from which the flanks of the gorge climb steeply for 100m, flattening marginally
            over a further 60m and rising their final 100m again, relatively steeply.

            The total depth of the gorge at the dam site is 260m to 280m and the gorge
            begins to widen progressively, immediately downstream. The Jana site is a
            topographically efficient location for a dam of the proposed height. However, the
            features which give rise to suitability of the site only occur over a stretch of a few
            hundred metres along the river course.

            Geomorphologically, the Jana dam basin is broadly characterised by a 60m to
            70m dolerite sill that has intruded into the sedimentary geology of the region
            which compromises inter-bedded sandstones, siltstones and mudstones of the
            Vryheid formation. The geology of the dam site is generally competent with
            adequate bearing and shearing capacity to allow for the founding of a concrete,
            or rock-fill structure without excessive foundation excavation. The geological
            and geotechnical conditions in the river foundation channel into which floods will
            discharge are cause for concern. Although the geology downstream is typified
            by a 20m capping of strong, massive sandstone which should be relatively
            resistant to flood discharge, the underlying silt and mudstones could present
            problems with regard to scouring taking place during large spillway discharge
            events. The steepness of the cliffs could also present problems due to the to
            undermining. Consequently, significant cutting back and scour protection may
            be required if flood flows are to be safely returned to the river downstream of the
            dam.

            The area in which the Mielietuin dam is to be situated is relatively easily
            accessible. The basin comprises largely open farm lands and the gradients of
            the valley sides are only steep in the immediate vicinity of the dam site itself.
            The proximity of the site to Estcourt will facilitate the supply of day to day
            provisions and of equipment from this town. The accessibility and availability of
            space at the site will allow for a more efficient site layout than will be possible at
            Jana.

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            The dam site is located in a short gorge, which is incised through a deep dolerite
            sill to a depth of approximately 90m. Above the gorge, the topography flattens
            out rapidly. It is evident that the proposed dam site is topographically very
            efficient. Although the efficiency of the site for dams higher than 90m decreases
            due to the relatively flat flanks, these flanks provide easy access and a useful
            open working area.

            The Mielietuin site is situated on a solid dolerite sill and it is only at the top of the
            gorge as the flanks flatten significantly, that sandstone capping occurs. In
            general, unweathered dolerite is encountered close to the ground surface over
            the full length of the gorge area and is an extremely good dam site from a
            geological point of view.

            The aqueduct routes traverse Valley Bushveld and Southern Tall Grassveld near
            the Jana and Mielietuin basins, although for the most part the aqueduct routes
            are situated in the latter. This vegetation type occurs between altitudes of
            1 050m and 1 350m and is characterised by open Acacia sieberiana savanna.


4.4         The Thukela River Catchment

            The Thukela catchment drains an area of 29 039km2, rising on the escarpment of
            the Drakensberg and flowing approximately 512km through the eastern slopes,
            the midlands and discharges in the Indian Ocean. The Thukela catchment has
            two main drainage systems, namely, the Upper Thukela and the Buffalo Rivers.
            This is attributed to the great Thukela Fault which runs in an east-west direction
            through the catchment as far as Colenso.

            The topography of the Thukela River Catchment varies dramatically, ranging
            from steep areas to gentle slopes. The lower, flatter areas are densely
            populated and livestock numbers are large. Historical and present fish
            distribution data show that 20 indigenous and seven alien species inhabit the
            Thukela and Bushmans Rivers. These include two Red Data species which only
            occur in the estuary and two endemic species which are widespread throughout
            the system. It would appear that there are no “unique” fish habitats in the
            Thukela River.

            The riparian vegetation in, the Thukela system is far from pristine. The diversity
            has been drastically reduced by years of mismanagement. Most of the
            sweetveld grasses, which constituted good grazing, have been lost from the
            floodplains and have been replaced by monotypic stands of Cynodon dactylon,
            which is, however, an important resource to local herdsman. Heavy grazing has
            also reduced the hygrophilus species which has resulted in a reduction in stands
            of Phragmites and hygrophilus fringes of Juncaceae and Cyperaceae. Only a
            few species of biological importance remain, including Vitellariopsis dispar, which
            is endemic to the Thukela and its tributaries.



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            The Thukela Estuary drains the largest river system in KwaZulu-Natal with a
            catchment of 29 101km2 and a natural mean annual runoff of 3 900 x 106m3. It
            is the only major estuary in this category flowing into the Indian Ocean in South
            Africa. The Thukela River and estuary has played a significant role in the
            dynamics of the adjacent continental shelf. The shelf widens off Durban, and the
            widened area of shelf or the Thukela cone has been formed as a direct result of
            the deposition of sediment transported by the Thukela. Another important
            feature is the coastline north of the Thukela mouth, particularly in the area south
            of Mtunzini, where the beaches are prograding, due to the deposition of
            sediment, much of which is ultimately derived from the Thukela.

            The Thukela estuary is relatively depauperate in fauna, particularly in respect of
            fish and invertebrates. This situation is caused by the high variability of the
            system as it shifts between estuarine and riverine conditions, as well as the
            destructive effects of the frequent and large flood events. Similarly, vegetation
            communities were found to have limited value, the notable exception being an
            area of indigenous forest, stands of Barringtonia racemosa, and a small
            Phragmites dominated wetland close to the mouth. The system would appear to
            be of greater importance to avifauna for feeding and roosting.




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5.          ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF THE TWP

            An assessment, at feasibility level, of the impacts and consequences that could
            be expected if the TWP was to be implemented is given in this section. Since
            this report is a synthesis of wide-ranging investigations and a diversity of inputs,
            not all the impacts have been listed or referred to. These may be found in the
            more detailed supporting reports. Only impacts and consequences that are
            considered to be the most important have been included. In particular, it is those
            environmental impacts that have been assessed as highly significant which must
            be brought to the attention of decision-makers. Wherever possible in such
            cases, mitigation action has also been recommended, and the assessment
            repeated, to estimate the effect of such management action. Wherever possible,
            the impacts of alternatives have been compared, so that decision-makers are
            better able to judge what the consequences of their decisions might be, in
            relation to the different options which are available.

            This summary assessment was prepared using an issues focused approach.
            The specialist baseline studies did not focus on issues. The terms of reference
            for these studies were drawn up thematically, based on classical specialist
            environmental subject areas such as biodiversity, fauna, flora and tourism. The
            issues focused approach was favoured because the issues reflect the concerns
            and wishes of a wide range of stakeholders including the authorities, ordinary
            people, interest groups as well as specialists. By using the issues framework it
            was possible to integrate the inputs from these many sources into a holistic and
            useful summary of the environmental consequences of the TWP.

            The following approach was used to describe and assess the environmental
            impacts:

            i)      Assessments were done, for national, regional and site specific
                    considerations.
            ii)     The issues listed in section 3.2 were considered individually in the three
                    assessments.
            iii)    A brief contextual description of the issue was provided.
            iv)     The principal environmental impacts associated with each issue were
                    identified and described.
            v)      The causes of the impact were listed.
            vi)     The effects that could be expected from the impact were listed.
            vii)    Mitigation measures to deal with the causes and effects of the impact were
                    proposed.
            viii)   The environmental impact associated with specific issues was assessed and
                    compared in tabular form for each of the alternatives identified and
                    described in section 3.4.
            ix)     Considerations of significance were assigned to the impact, for each
                    alternative both before and after the application of mitigation action.


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            x)   Those issues with high intensity, high probability and particularly high
                 significance, even after the application of mitigatory action, were noted.


5.1         National level

5.1.1       Impacts on the receiving environment

            What effects can be expected from the export of water out of the Thukela basin
            to the receiving economic, social and biophysical environments of the Vaal River
            System?

            Context

            The TWP as defined at feasibility level, was planned around the delivery of about
            15m3/s to the Kilburn Dam. Water would be transferred from Kilburn to the
            Sterkfontein Dam in the Vaal River System via the existing Drakensberg Pumped
            Storage Scheme. Water would then be released from Sterkfontein via the
            Nuwejaarspruit and Wilge River to the Vaal Dam. These releases will affect the
            riverine environment and will augment the water supplied for domestic, industrial,
            agricultural, recreational and other uses, in the Vaal River System.

            Impact 1

            Continued economic growth and development in the industrial heartland of South
            Africa.

            Cause:

            Augmentation of water supplies in the Vaal River System.

            Effect:

            Economic investment, job opportunities, expansion of water and sanitation
            services, assurance of water supplies (higher security)

            Enhancement:

            Ongoing responsible management and equitable allocation of water resources to
            underpin sustainability considerations.




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      Comparison of alternatives - Continued economic growth in the VRSA

      AUGMENTATION       TWP                 NON                DEMAND             IMPORTATION
      OPTIONS                                AUGMENTATION       MANAGEMENT

      Impact Type         Positive           Negative           Neutral            Positive
      Magnitude           Medium             Medium             Medium             Medium
      Probability         probable           Probable           probable           probable

      Significance        high               High               low                high

      Significance after high                High               low                high
      enhancement




      Impact 2

      Degraded riverine environment on the Nuwejaarspruit and Wilge River system.

      Cause:

      Water releases in open natural channels from Sterkfontein Dam to Vaal Dam.

      Effect:

      Channel destabilisation, erosion, transfer of organisms, waterborne diseases,
      parasites and hosts, disturbance of natural fluxes and flows, incorrect trigger signals
      (e.g. for spawning),

      Enhancement:

      Use of pipelines, otherwise stabilisation of riverbanks, appropriate dam operating and
      water release rules, water quality and biological monitoring.


      Comparison of alternatives - Degraded riverine environment
      AUGMENTATION       TWP                 NON                DEMAND             IMPORTATION
      OPTIONS                                AUGMENTATION       MANAGEMENT

      Impact Type         Negative           No impact          No impact          No impact
      Magnitude           Medium             None               None               None
      Probability         probable           definite           definite           Definite

      Significance        high               none               none               None
      Significance after Medium to low       none               none               None
      enhancement

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5.1.2       Legal and administrative framework

            What is the legal and administrative framework within which decisions have been
            made to investigate the feasibility of the TWP and within which it may have to be
            implemented and operated?

            Context

            Before 1994 policy and decision-making in South Africa was characterised by the
            elitist approach. This has changed to an emphasis the process model, factors
            such as public choice and incremental decision-making are the order of the day.
            Because of the Constitutional requirements that “everyone has the right to
            administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair”, it is
            imperative that any administrative actions taken should be seen to be not only
            lawful and procedurally correct, but also to be reasonable.

            Comment:

            Policy and decision-making processes in South Africa, must comply with a
            rigorously applied and administered, constitutionally based culture of rights and
            equity in decision-making.

            Cause:

            Changing constitutional and legal framework within South Africa, where
            “everyone has the right to administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and
            procedurally fair”.

            Effect:

            It is important that decision-makers fully appreciate that any administrative
            actions taken should be seen to be not only lawful and procedurally correct, but
            also to be reasonable. Those who made the decision can be required to explain
            and justify the reasoning followed.

            Action:

            In terms of the National Water Act, two issues are of importance for the TWP at
            this level, namely national water resources strategy (NWRS) (sections 5, 6 and
            7), and the Reserve (sections 16, 17 and 18). Management of the water
            resources of the Thukela River must be compatible with an overarching national
            strategy. It is necessary that DWAF, as a matter of urgency, formally compiles
            such a strategy to address the management of water in this river system.
            However, it is not necessary for DWAF to delay a decision concerning the
            implementation of the TWP until a national strategy and a strategy at catchment
            level for the Thukela has been established. Failure to act within the spirit of the
            law would amount to unreasonable administrative action. Determination of the

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            Reserve and the formulation of a strategy for the management of the water
            resources of the Thukela River, as part of a national strategy, must therefore be
            put in hand without delay.

            Alternatives:

            The above action applies equally to all alternatives considered.

5.1.3       Political aspects

            What are the possible consequences that may arise from a political backlash to
            the export of water out of KwaZulu-Natal to the Vaal River System? How can
            this affect the long term sustainability of the TWP?

            Context

            The two poles of this debate are moving water from where it is found to where it
            is needed (resource capture), and moving the consumers and development to
            the water source (spatial development). This is a strategic decision that only
            government can make. This issue deals with both political and legal action that
            could be taken to oppose and in the worst case stop the implementation of the
            TWP. Such action could be designed and timed to cause the maximum amount
            of nuisance and trouble. It could seriously embarrass the Government, cause
            delays, add a substantial amount to the costs of the project and jeopardise its
            sustainability.

            Impact

            Political tension between National, Provincial and local government bringing on
            increasingly ineffectiveness of government.

            Cause:

            Possible increasing out-migration of economically active people from KwaZulu-
            Natal to the Vaal River supply area where water supply is assured to sustain
            economic development. Perception that this is detrimental to economic growth in
            KZN and uThukela Region leads to resistance from Provincial and local political
            groups. Politicians and traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal prefer to keep
            development in the Province and stop economically active people from leaving.
            Local political use of the slogan “our water” by politicians, traditional leaders and
            secessionist elements within KZN, who do not want to see their power base and
            sphere of influence diminished or who use it to pursue what they perceive as
            quite legitimate local political objectives could increase.




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              Effect:

              Potential to hamstring and handicap viable government initiatives and activities
              on a broad front, while attention and energy is focused on political posturing
              while the need to address the true social and economic issues are ignored.

              Mitigation:

              Inter Departmental liaison and proactive stance at a high level within
              government, and by senior project and DWAF personnel. Implementation of the
              proposed Izimpondo Zenkunzi (horns of the bull) management solution, as set
              out in the report on hydro-political aspects of the TWP.

        Comparison of alternatives - Political tensions
        AUGMENTATION         TWP            NON                DEMAND             IMPORTATION
        OPTIONS                             AUGMENTATION       MANAGEMENT

        Impact Type          Negative       no effect          no effect          no effect
        Magnitude            High
        Probability          Probable

        Significance         Medium         The same impact will not materialise in these alternatives

        Significance after   Low
        mitigation



5.1.4         Legal protection of rivers

              What protection is there for rivers within the legal system of South Africa at this
              time? Does the Thukela River merit special protection?

              Context

              There are indications that certain special interest groups are advocating specific
              legislation for the added protection of rivers. Indications are that a Wild and
              Scenic Rivers Act, along the lines of American legislation, is being called for by
              some NGOs. This may gain momentum after the WCD findings are published.

              Comment:

              Rivers are not specifically protected in South African law. The protection given to
              water quality, ecosystems, biological diversity, aquatic life and the fact that a
              Reserve must be established and other requirements all contribute to the
              protection of rivers. The main source of protection for rivers is to be found in
              generally applicable legislation. Thus the principles contained in section 2 of the
              National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998, though general in nature

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             effectively protects rivers as well. There are also several sections in the National
             Water Act, 36 of 1998 that have the effect of protecting rivers.

             In principle, no river merits special protection. It is the total of the components
             that determine the extent of the protection that should be afforded to a given
             river. In this regard the Thukela River may merit more protection than most
             because it may be seen to have ecological or other value that could be
             destroyed. There is however, no certainty on this issue.

5.1.5        Large dams

             What significant implications and consequences are there for the DWAF in
             building and operating large dams, in a global environment where such projects
             are increasingly criticized as being inappropriate. Is such action by DWAF
             advisable and appropriate, in the light of legal action or international pressure, or
             other forces or threats which can be brought to bear on DWAF?

             Context

             There is currently an international debate on the merits of large dams in solving
             problems of water resource management and water supply. The international
             debate is distinctly North-centred, originating from disillusionment in developed
             countries with the outcome and legacy of some of their major water projects, and
             not only those built for water supply. It was for this reason that the WCD was
             formed, to define the rules, processes and procedures that need to be
             considered when deciding to construct large dams such as the TWP. The final
             outcome of the WCD is not yet known, but it is unlikely to place a moratorium on
             the construction of dams. This implies that provided the rules and procedures are
             followed. The overriding factor in this regard will be the relevance of these dams
             to political and economic processes in the overall social context.

        Impact:     International and domestic pressure brought to bear on DWAF specifically
                    and the Government in general, to postpone or even stop the
                    implementation of the TWP.
        Cause:      Perceptions of governments in the developed world, international aid and
                    funding agencies, investors and NGO’s, as well as local special interest
                    groups, that the construction and operation of large dams is not justifiable.
        Effect:     Diplomatic pressure, legal and civil court actions, timed to cause the
                    maximum amount of nuisance and trouble. It could seriously embarrass
                    the Government, cause delays, add a substantial amount to the cost and
                    jeopardise the entire project.
        Mitigation: Development of an appropriate hydropolitical management strategy, based
                    on a full disclosure of facts and comprising a rational and coherent policy
                    framework, within which the final decision will be made. Also the
                    development and implementation of a culturally sensitive communication
                    strategy, underpinned by innovative and thorough planning.



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        Comparison of alternatives - International and domestic pressure

        AUGMENTATION         TWP            NON                DEMAND             IMPORTATION
        OPTIONS                             AUGMENTATION       MANAGEMENT

        Impact Type          negative       no effect          positive           Negative
        Magnitude            low                               low                Low
        Probability          probable                          probable           Probable

        Significance         high                              low                High

        Significance after   low                               low                Low
        mitigation



5.1.6         Reserve

              What effect will the determination of the Reserve in the Vaal and Thukela Rivers
              have on the supply of water from the Thukela to the Vaal River System?

              Context

              The National Water Act No 36 of 1998, makes provision for the determination of
              the Reserve, in sections 16, 17 and 18. The requirements in the Act regarding a
              Reserve are of crucial importance. They establish a basic and non-negotiable
              quantity of water that must be made available.

              Comment:

              The amount of water that can be taken from the Thukela River and supplied to
              the Vaal River system will be directly dependant on the quantity and quality of
              the Reserve that is determined. It has been found that sufficient water will be
              available for transfer after taking cognisance of the needs of in-basin users at
              least up to 2035. This finding has been confirmed after assessing instream flow
              requirements (IFR) as a first approximately of the Reserve. It is expected that
              when a full determination is done, there will be sufficient water to justify the TWP
              and to still have a substantial amount available for allocation from the Thukela to
              other users.

5.1.7         AIDS

              What implications and consequences for the TWP should be considered, both
              from the side of the receiving environment as well as the source environment, as
              the spread and effect of AIDS takes hold on the country, over the next two to
              three decades?




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            Context

            Indications are that HIV / AIDS is likely to become by far the greatest health and
            socio-economic problem facing the country over the next two decades. This is
            exactly the time during which decisions and action regarding the implementation
            and commissioning of the TWP will have to be taken. The rapidly escalating
            incidence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa could therefore pose a variety of possible
            implications for the TWP, which need to be understood and dealt with in the
            decision making process, before the final parameters of the project are fixed.

            Impact:

            Heightened economic risk for the TWP.

            Cause:

            Effect of AIDS on the national economy and its debilitating effect on individuals.

            Effect:

            Realignment of Government’s economic priorities and resources to deal with the
            effects of AIDS. The TWP becomes a lower priority on the State’s agenda. AIDS
            affects younger working adults and this leads to a decline in the numbers of
            economically active people and slumping productivity. Disposable income is
            spent on dealing with the cost of infection, and has a direct influence on the
            ability and willingness of people to pay for water.

            Mitigation

            Effects of AIDS brought into and considered in all decision making. Economic,
                  financial and institutional models must be so constructed, that the effects
                  that different AIDS scenarios might have on the viability of the TWP is
                  clearly conveyed.

      Comparison of alternatives - Economic effects of AIDS
      AUGMENTATION         TWP              NON                DEMAND             IMPORTATION
      OPTIONS                               AUGMENTATION       MANAGEMENT

      Impact Type          Negative         positive           positive           negative
      Magnitude            Medium           low                medium             medium
      Probability          Probable         probable           probable           probable

      Significance         High             medium             low                high

      Significance after   Low              medium             low                low
      mitigation



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5.1.8       Decision record

            What is the status of the decision record of policies considered by the DWAF for
            future increases in the supply of water to the Vaal River System?

            Context

            The legal order in South Africa has changed from one of parliamentary
            sovereignty to one of constitutional sovereignty. In an environment where rights
            and not power are dominant, it is very important that a clear decision record
            exists for a major intervention such as the TWP.

            Comment:

            In line with current Constitutional requirements and the legal framework in South
            Africa, it is imperative that decision-makers clearly understand that any
            administrative actions taken should be seen to be not only lawful and
            procedurally correct, but also to be reasonable. Those who made the decision
            can also be required to explain and justify the reasoning followed. If the
            implementation of the TWP is approved, there must be good reason why it was
            chosen and why the other policy options were discarded. The record of decision
            will have to be complete.


5.1.9       Non-augmentation

            What are the implications of non-augmentation for the economy of the country?

            Context

            The Vaal River System supplies the economic and industrial heartland of South
            Africa. Any factor which affects this industrial and economic productivity will have
            a major effect on the economy of the country and the consequential impacts can
            be expected to be felt well outside the borders of the country.

            Impact:

            Economic loss and potential decrease in economic growth in the national
            economy

            Cause:

            Frequency, duration and intensity of shortages exceed capacity to be
            accommodated.

            Effect:

            Non-augmentation will necessitate the reallocation of water between different
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              user sectors and the Reserve, to supply human (domestic) requirements.
              Previous studies (1994) showed that non-augmentation would probably cause a
              decrease in the growth of the national economy. It was estimated that an annual
              loss in growth of 1% of the total value of the SA economy, would translate to a
              loss of approximately R7.4 billion/annum. The total cost of construction for the
              TWP is estimated at approximately R6.0 billion. If augmentation is not carried
              out, it would potentially simulate trends synonymous with a slump in the
              economy which include job losses and increasing levels of unemployment,
              increased inflation, reduction in disposable incomes, and a shortage of funds
              (through taxes) for national development initiatives.

              Mitigation:

              Augmentation of the water resources of the Vaal River System.

        Comparison of alternatives - decrease in economic growth
        AUGMENTATION         TWP            NON                DEMAND             IMPORTATION
        OPTIONS                             AUGMENTATION       MANAGEMENT

        Impact Type          Negative       negative           positive           negative

        Magnitude            Low            low                low                low

        Probability          Probable       probable           probable           probable

        Significance         High           high               low                high

        Significance after   Low            high               low                low
        mitigation



5.2           Regional level

              In this section not all the issues, and hence not all the impacts have been
              addressed. Only those issues with significant impacts have been dealt with. A
              list of the regional issues is given in section 3.2.2 above. It is at the regional
              level that the most significant effects, both positive and negative, of the TWP will
              be experienced.

              The use of alternatives in this section must be noted.           Explanations of the
              meaning of alternatives is given in section 3.4.2 above.

5.2.1         Sedimentology

              The TWP would be a major intervention into the functions of natural and social
              systems. What effect will:
              • sedimentological processes in the catchment,
              • natural functioning of a river of the size and nature of the Thukela,

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            • regional and local human activity and development, and
            • biodiversity considerations,
            have on the construction, commissioning, operation and de-commissioning of the
            project?

            Context

            The importance of the “sediment driven” nature of the Thukela, and the reliance
            of the estuarine and offshore environment on this output of the river should not
            be underestimated (Wadeson et al). Altering the flow or sediment load
            characteristics of a river (first order impact) represents a change in primary
            forces which shape the downstream environment.

            Comment

            A good understanding of the sedimentological processes in the Thukela River
            and, their cause and effect, is fundamentally important to a full understanding of
            the consequences that this will have on the sustainability of the TWP. In the
            TWP Feasibility Study a full understanding of the subject was not sought. The
            driving forces and the factors which influence the creation, composition, transport
            and deposition of sediment will have to be investigated during the decision
            support phase or later. This should include factors such as regional and local
            human activity, land use, development activities, and biodiversity considerations.

            Land-care projects are currently being implemented in the Upper Thukela River
            Catchment as a result of concerns that land degradation and erosion are
            impacting negatively on the effective storage in Woodstock Dam. However, the
            large size of Jana Dam and, the fact that it is below Woodstock and Spioenkop
            Dams, should prevent serious sediment accumulation problems occurring in the
            foreseeable future. Similarly, Mielietuin Dam is not far downstream of Wagendrift
            Dam and, significant sediment accumulation problems are not anticipated.

            For both Jana and Mielietuin Dams, upstream human activity and development
            will potentially impact negatively on the quality of water stored. This is of
            particular relevance to Mielietuin Dam, which is only a few kilometres
            downstream of Estcourt because of the treated domestic and industrial effluent
            which is discharged back into the Bushman’s River at Estcourt. A similar, albeit
            less significant, concern exists for Jana Dam which is immediately downstream
            of the residential and industrial areas of Ladysmith, Pieters and Ezakheni. In
            both cases, water quality concerns could be exacerbated if accelerated
            economic growth is experienced in the greater Thukela River region.

            Sediment accumulation in the resevoirs is probably less important than changes
            in river morphology.




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            5.2.2         Thukela Banks

            What effect will there be on the natural, social and economic environments of the
            Thukela Banks, resulting from the reduction in flow of freshwater to the mouth of
            the Thukela River, caused by the TWP?

            Context

            The south-east African continental shelf widens considerably to more than 45 km
            off the Thukela River mouth, as a result of the sediments transported by the river
            and deposited in the ocean. It is the only shelf area on the east coast of the
            country and, although the fauna of the Banks is not unique, the implementation
            of the TWP will have some effects on the shelf morphology and the biological
            systems that have established themselves there. It is not known at this stage to
            what degree the effects of climatic change and sea level rise may totally override
            any human induced impacts on the Thukela Banks. This requires further
            investigation.

            Impact:

            General decrease in sediment and nutrients supplied to the Banks

            Cause:

            Reduction in waterflow and the retention of sediments and nutrients within the
            impoundments. Changes in land use in the catchment.

            Effect:

            Changes in the pattern of closure of the river mouth between May and October
            annually, for periods of 3 to 5 months at a time, if flows of more than 1 m3/sec
            are not maintained. Reduction in the sand/mud ratios in the Banks, so that the
            muddy areas increase. A reduction in prawn and other fisheries. Alteration of
            beach habitat north of the Thukela Mouth. Change in and reduction of the
            species composition and numbers due to an alteration of the habitat caused by
            different sediment and nutrient dynamics.

            Mitigation:

            The dynamics of the Thukela Banks are not yet well understood and need further
            study. Monitoring of effects before during and after construction and during
            operation must be undertaken, particularly the effect of the application of the
            Reserve determination. Compensation to be determined for a decline of
            commercial fishing and prawn fishing enterprises.




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        Comparison of alternatives - Changes to the Thukela Banks

        ALTERNATIVE          WORSE -    DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME       THUKELA RENAISSANCE
        SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

        Impact Type          negative              negative                negative

        Magnitude            high                  moderate                low

        Probability          probable              probable                probable

        Significance         medium                medium                  low

        Significance after   low                   low                     low
        mitigation



5.2.3         Support infrastructure

              What effect will the provision of support infrastructure for the project, such as
              road and power supply, have on the biophysical environment, people, and
              regional development of the areas surrounding the dam sites and conveyance
              routes and the Thukela catchment? Are there possible benefits for the region in
              terms of utilising, or expanding the support infrastructure and services both
              during and following construction of the project?

              Context

              A considerable amount of new infrastructure will have to be built to support both
              construction and operation of the TWP. This includes mainly roads and the
              provision of additional power supplies. If correctly handled this can greatly assist
              regional development.

              Benefit:

              Regional economic stimulation.

              Cause:

              Increased economic activity in region because of focused regional investment in
              roads, power supply and other services.

              Effect:

              Greater regional economic empowerment and development. Increased job
              opportunities from construction work and secondary and peripheral activities.




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              Enhancement:

              Comprehensive regional development plan and implementation of integrated
              strategic plans and spatial planning for regional and local government structures.
              Commitment from the TWP and proactive intervention in regional development
              through the provision of resources and skills to facilitate cooperative governance
              initiatives and fund institutional capacity building on a regional basis in the
              project area, to ensure that maximum regional benefit is obtained from
              investment.

        Comparison of alternatives - Regional economic stimulation
        ALTERNATIVE          WORSE      -   DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME   THUKELA RENAISSANCE
        SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

        Benefit              positive                  positive            positive

        Magnitude            moderate                  high                very high

        Probability          probable                  probable            probable

        Significance         low                       medium              high

        Significance after   medium                    high                very high
        enhancement



5.2.4         Export of Thukela River water

              In what way will the economic development of the uThukela Region and
              KwaZulu-Natal be affected by the export of water out of the Thukela catchment?
              What is the opportunity cost to KwaZulu-Natal of exporting water out of the
              province?
              Context

              During the different planning phases of the TWP, a planning horizon of 2035 was
              used to consider the in-basin needs. Then applying conservative criteria, the in-
              basin needs were estimated and given priority supply in order to determine the
              transferable yield from new dams.

              Impact:

              Long term restraint placed on economic development in KwaZulu-Natal
              downstream of TWP.

              Cause:

              Less water available from the Thukela River to support regional development
              because of export to the VRSA. (opportunity cost).

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              Effect:

              Development in the uThukela Region as well as in downstream areas, may have
              to be curtailed because of a shortage of water available from the Thukela River.

              Mitigation:

              In-basin requirements have received priority in allocation, as well as in other
              areas who draw on water resources from the Thukela. Only a transferrable
              quantity of water was considered for export. It is even possible that transfers
              may be curtailed in future if this is found to be necessary.


        Comparison of alternatives - Curtailment of development
        ALTERNATIVE          WORSE   -   DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME      THUKELA RENAISSANCE
        SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

        Impact type          negative               negative               Negative

        Magnitude            moderate               low                    Low

        Probability          probable               improbable             Improbable

        Significance         medium                 low                    Low

        Significance after   low                    low                    Low
        mitigation



5.2.5         Crime and security

              In what way will current levels of crime and security in the region be influenced
              by the TWP?

              Context

              There is a concern that the influx of people seeking employment and business
              opportunities from the TWP may result in an escalation in crime. KwaZulu-Natal
              is estimated to have the third highest incidence of poverty in South Africa, a
              driving force behind criminal activity.

              Impact:

              Increased levels of crime and a deteriorating security situation.

              Cause:

              Poverty, AIDS orphans, Easier access throughout the region and at a local level,
              making movement easier for criminals and creating the opportunities for crime.
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              Many more people moving through a wider area because of improved
              infrastructure and easier access. Construction camps. Areas opened up along
              aqueduct routes that would otherwise have restricted access.

              Effect:

              Insecurity, detraction from quality of life, wealth destruction, inequality in sharing
              of wealth, induced migration.

              Mitigation:

              Commitment from the TWP and proactive intervention in planning of regional
              policing as part of integrated regional development plans and implementation of
              integrated strategic plans and spatial planning for regional and local government
              structures. Provision of resources and skills to facilitate cooperative governance
              initiatives and fund institutional capacity building on a regional basis in the
              project area. Effective communication, liaison and joint action by national,
              provincial and local government departments (e.g. co-ordination of budgeting
              procedures and spending).


        Comparison of alternatives - Increased crime and reduced security

        ALTERNATIVE          WORSE   -   DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME      THUKELA RENAISSANCE
        SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

        Impact type          negative               negative               negative

        Magnitude            high                   moderate               low

        Probability          probable               probable               improbable

        Significance         high                   medium                 Low

        Significance after   medium                 low                    Low
        mitigation



5.2.6         Forward and backward linkages

              What are the social, economic, and biophysical forward and backward linkages
              of the project on the regional resource use and development activities in the
              Thukela catchment and KwaZulu-Natal?

              Context

              During the operational phase the TWP may only have a limited direct impact on
              the uThukela Region as relatively few local inputs will be required. Therefore,


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            joint forward linkages to regional development and service provision plans
            should be considered in such a way as to maximise meeting the needs of the
            region during construction.         However, currently other large infrastructure
            projects, for example, the N3 toll Road over De Beers Pass Highway and
            Braamhoek Hydroelectric Pumped Storage Scheme, are being considered in the
            region. Should the implementation of these projects occur concurrently with the
            TWP, much of the work will need to be out-sourced due to lack of capacity within
            the region. This will result in less benefit to the region than if the projects are
            scheduled incrementally for maximum local benefit. However, this needs to be
            viewed in the context that local and regional competencies and capacities may,
            in any event, be inadequate and insufficient for one large infrastructure project by
            itself, let alone three very big projects implemented simultaneously.

            Comment:

            Forward linkages include the provisions of services such as schools, clinics and
            other social services. Coordination of their development with the TWP will
            require liaison with and the involvement of other Government Departments, as
            well as some form of a formal programme for interaction, implementation,
            monitoring and project management. The TWP can provide resources and skills
            to facilitate cooperative governance initiatives and fund institutional capacity
            building on a regional basis in the project area, in this respect.

            The backward linkages should be sought in factors within the catchment, such as
            migration, erosion, depopulation, climate, land reform which could affect the
            sustainability of the project through reduced water flow, sediment yield or other
            considerations.

5.2.7       Migration

            Will the development affect the movement or migration of people within the
            catchment area of the Thukela River? How does this fit in with the existing
            regional planning scenarios? Will the project add to or detract from sustainable
            development in the region? How will this affect the main environmental factors
            (e.g. land degradation and resource use)?

            Context

            Migration and population movement are probably the most neglected of the
            significant dynamics behind rural poverty in South Africa. It appears that current
            migration patterns in KwaZulu-Natal are overwhelmingly rural to rural as high
            unemployment in urban shack settlements is making it increasingly difficult for
            rural dwellers to enter the urban economy. Therefore, as current population
            movements are largely contained within the uThukela Region, which is an area
            susceptible to political disturbance, it is anticipated that there will be a large
            proportion of local people moving to seek employment or business opportunities.



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            Impact:

            Intensified and changed migration dynamics creates a more “foot-loose”
            population

            Cause:

            Rural poverty, AIDS, induced migration due to “pull” factors from increased
            employment opportunities offered by the TWP.          “Push” factors include
            opportunistic movement of people seeking work or providing services to
            employers on the TWP, violence, (from internecine conflict or from criminal
            activity), and also the influx of illegal immigrants.

            Effect:

            Pressure on existing services, schools, clinics, water, sanitation and other
            community services. Overcrowding and growth of existing settlements and
            possible establishment of new informal settlements. Increased levels of crime.
            Environmental sustainability and land production potential may be impacted
            upon should the state control “spare land” after buying commercial farmland. It is
            anticipated that this land will be rapidly settled informally and this may result in
            land degradation and nonsustainable resource use occurring.

            Mitigation:

            Proactive participation by TWP project, to take a lead and accept joint
            responsibility in social upliftment programmes, together with other government
            departments, to participate in, to fund and to facilitate what is in effect
            cooperative governance programme. This will need an urgent and strategic
            policy decision from DWAF and probably at Cabinet level.               Education
            programmes for project personnel. Proactive participation and support by TWP
            for integrated regional development plans and implementation of integrated
            strategic plans and spatial planning for regional and local government structures.
            This would include effective communication, liaison and joint action by national,
            provincial and local government departments (e.g. co-ordination of budgeting
            procedures and spending).




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        Comparison of alternatives – Migration

        ALTERNATIVE          WORSE   -   DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME      THUKELA RENAISSANCE
        SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

        Impact type          Negative               negative               Negative

        Magnitude            High                   moderate               low

        Probability          Probable               probable               improbable

        Significance         High                   medium                 low

        Significance after   Low                    low                    low
        mitigation



5.2.8         Public health and disease

              What are the public health and disease impacts associated with the TWP
              including HIV / AIDS in the regional context?

              Context

              In the light of the possible migration of people and the increase in the number of
              informal settlements, it is believed that the impact and spread of AIDS will be felt
              not only in the region but also in the home regions of the migrant labourers.
              However, the impact of this spread of AIDS will not necessarily be significant as
              the AIDS infection and death rate over the greater region and the country is
              expected to reach its plateau before the construction of the TWP will commence.
              It is important that death due to AIDS in the informal settlements, labour camps
              and in the work force as a whole, be addressed and anticipated during planning.
              Other public health and disease impacts that need to be addressed are bilharzia
              and, the spread of malaria to an area currently regarded as malaria-free.

              Impact:

              Raised levels of health risk on a regional basis.

              Cause:

              Large scale and extended construction activities, influx and movement of people
              within the region, decreased social cohesion, the creation of large open bodies of
              water and the operation of dams. Changing climatic conditions.

              Effect:

              Health hazards do currently exist in the form of Malaria, Schistosomiasis and
              diarrhoeal disease. Where climatic conditions are favourable (warming) and
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              people have a greater access to open water occurrence of these diseases will
              increase. The spread of malaria, and its impact on tourism operations are
              regarded as potentially significant.

              Mitigation:

              Screen all migrant labour for HIV / AIDS, malaria and Schistosomiasis at first
              arrival at the site and at successive returns after visits away from the site.
              Conduct a baseline survey of the potential mosquito vector population in the
              month of February, prior to the initiation of construction activities. A similar
              baseline needs to be established for the snail vectors of Schistosomiasis. A
              baseline assessment of the current situation relating to snail vectors in the dams
              in the upper Thukela catchment must be done, and then monitored in all the
              impoundments thereafter. Ongoing monitoring of downstream contamination with
              faecal contaminants such as Escheri Coli needs to be carried out.

        Comparison of alternatives - Public health
        ALTERNATIVE          WORSE -    DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME       THUKELA RENAISSANCE
        SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

        Impact type          negative              negative                Negative

        Magnitude            low                   low                     Low

        Probability          probable              probable                Improbable

        Significance         medium                low                     Low

        Significance after   low                   low                     Low
        mitigation



5.2.9         Environmental indicators

              What are the most important environmental indicators that should be used to
              monitor the long term effects and sustainability of the scheme?

              Context

              It is important that sustainability objectives are formulated for the TWP, and are
              translated into context-specific criteria and indicators. These objectives, criteria
              and indicators should relate to the important environmental resources of the
              region and to the nature and scale of the project. The objectives are generic,
              commonly recognised requirements for the sustainability of resources. They
              relate to a particular area, scale and level of decision-making. The sustainability
              objectives may then be translated into sustainability criteria which reflect the
              social, economic and biophysical context of the project. The criteria are typically
              based on limits for acceptable change within the environment and may be
              quantitative or qualitative. (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism)



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            Measurable sustainability indicators may then be identified to determine
            whether the criteria are being met. For example, in the case of the TWP, the
            water resources of the region would be an indicator express as MAR, river flows,
            water quality, silt load, at various points and for different times of the year.

            Comment:

            No specific recommendations have been made in the environmental feasibility
            study to identify or use any specific environmental indicators. This aspect will
            have to be addressed in the detailed environmental investigations undertaken
            during the decision support phase and the implementation phase of the TWP.

5.2.10      Natural resource utilisation

            What will the impact of the TWP be on natural resource utilisation in the Thukela
            Basin? Specifically, what effect will there be on resource supply and the future
            consumption of basic natural goods, game carrying capacity and game hunting
            enterprises, micro-enterprises associated with natural products, and options for
            further use?

            Context

            A number of communities within the area depend on direct access to and
            utilisation of the region’s natural resources. These resources meet daily needs,
            such as firewood for cooking purposes, and also provide income earning
            opportunities such as craft production and the sale of medicinal plants.
            Resources which hold importance and intrinsic high value for these people will
            be lost when large sections of the Thukela River valley are inundated. The influx
            of construction workers and employment seekers and the remaining resources
            after inundation will result in the current and future available resources being
            placed under additional pressure. This will have a significant impact on the ability
            of the land to sustain the local population and subsequent harvesting pressures.

            Impact:

            Diminished natural resource base for use by communities, business and
            agriculture.

            Cause:

            Flooding of large areas by dams and canal servitude splitting land into units that
            may be unproductive.

            Effect:

            Diminished opportunities for harvesting of indigenous plant resources on
            communally owned land by some tribally based communities, thereby reducing
            trade and consumption opportunities. In addition local communities will have
            less options for obtaining firewood, grazing for livestock, materials for housing
            and fencing, medicinal plant resources and craft materials. It is therefore likely
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            that as a result of flooding, there will be increased pressure on the remaining
            supply of these resources in the region. This could result in accelerated
            resource depletion and degradation of high value medicinal plant resources and
            craft resources the region. Movement of game will become restricted and
            disrupted in the area between the Thukela and Bushmans Rivers. The total
            amount of land available for both subsistence and commercial agriculture will be
            reduced, in terms of both crop farming and the raising of livestock.

            Mitigation:

            Compensation for the cost of lost business and opportunity costs. Financing the
            cost of marketing to regain previous business levels. Support for commercial
            propagation of high value resources locally. All actions to be taken up in
            integrated regional development plans and implementation of integrated strategic
            plans and spatial planning for regional and local government structures.

      Comparison of alternatives - Diminished natural resource base
      ALTERNATIVE          WORSE -    DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME         THUKELA RENAISSANCE
      SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

      Impact type          Negative               Negative                 negative

      Magnitude            Medium                 Low                      low

      Probability          Probable               Probable                 probable

      Significance         High                   Medium                   low

      Significance after   Low                    Low                      low
      mitigation



5.2.11      Tourism

            What are the implications of the TWP for eco-tourism in the upper Thukela
            Basin? How will tourism based on important historical, archaeological and
            cultural sites in the region be influenced?

            Context

            The local tourism industry makes an important contribution to the regional
            economy. The industry is largely based on the natural, cultural and historical
            resources and landscape assets of the region. These include:
                 • the rivers, wildlife, vegetation, and wilderness areas.
                 • battlefields and memorials,
                 • Bushman paintings, Voortrekker sites, and other archaeological
                     localities.


            There are a range of Nguni, Bushmen and Anglo-Boer War sites of historical and
            cultural importance. A survey of the archaeological sites revealed 50 sites in the
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            Jana Dam basin, four in the Mielietuin Dam basin, 40 along the proposed canal
            route and 27 along the pipeline route. These sites range from the Middle Stone
            Age (150 000 to 30 000 years ago) through to the Historical Period (AD 1829 to
            50 years ago).

            Impact 1:

            Loss of wilderness atmosphere and disruption of existing regional eco-tourism
            operations.

            Cause:

            Flooding of Jana and Mielietuin Basins will inundate existing wild and
            undeveloped areas. There will be partial flooding of natural features such as the
            Thukela Gorge, Little Niagra waterfall and rapids which have been given names,
            such as the ‘washing machine’. In addition, new support infrastructure for the
            construction and operational phases of the project will bring construction traffic
            and increased development activity, and will not be conducive to preserving the
            wilderness character of the region on which current eco-tourism largely depends.
            All of these factors will cause the regional character to change and the sense of
            place will be affected.

            Effect:

            Reduced visitor numbers and tourism revenues and possible closure of some
            enterprises, reducing the total number of beds available on a regional basis. In
            addition, increased crime rates and decreased road safety during the
            construction phase could add to the slump. The greatest disruptions are likely to
            occur during the construction phase.

            Mitigation:

            Compensation and change of character of regional tourism from wilderness
            sense of place to a water based industry.




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      Comparison of alternatives - Disruption of eco-tourism operations

      ALTERNATIVE          WORSE -    DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME         THUKELA RENAISSANCE
      SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

      Impact type          negative               Negative                 Negative

      Magnitude            medium                 Low                      Low

      Probability          probable               Probable                 Improbable

      Significance         medium                 Low                      Low

      Significance after   low                    low                      Low
      mitigation

      Impact 2:

      Creation of new tourism opportunities.

      Cause:

      The development of the dams at Jana and Mielietuin would result in the creation of
      new tourism assets in the construction and later formation of large water bodies.

      Effect:

      During construction, there will be a major opportunity for tourism based on the
      construction activities, Later, as the lakes are formed, this would create the opportunity
      for a range of new recreational activities such as sailing, camping, sightseeing, and
      fishing. Releases of water from the dams for river maintenance could provide new
      regular and sustained opportunities for downstream river activities such as kayaking
      and river rafting. These new enterprises would increase the diversity of tourist and
      recreation activities in the region. Secondary support services in the form of
      accommodation, refreshment, curio and handcraft trading would also increase. All of
      this would add to the demand for tourism services in the region.

      Enhancement:

      Formal support from TWP and regional and local authorities for identification of
      entrepreneurs and assistance in the establishment of new businesses.




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      Comparison of alternatives - New tourism opportunities
      ALTERNATIVE          WORSE –    DECLINE AND MORE OF THE SAME         THUKELA RENAISSANCE
      SCENARIOS            DEPRESSION

      Impact type          Positive               positive                 positive

      Magnitude            Low                    low                      medium

      Probability          Probable               probable                 definite

      Significance         Low                    medium                   medium

      Significance after   Low                    medium                   high
      mitigation

5.2.12      Legal and administrative factors

            What important legal and administrative factors should be considered at a
            regional level to ensure that the TWP is constructed and operated in an
            environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner?

            Comment:

            It is important to note that most major legal and administrative decisions that led
            to investigation on proposals of the TWP and determined the dam sites within
            the catchment, were taken at a national level. Thus, the factors that need to be
            considered at a regional level are those that evaluate how the project should be
            implemented within the important legal factors, to limit any adverse impacts of
            the project. The broad principles of environmental law will have to be applied in
            a fairly supple manner to ensure compliance. Although this framework is
            presently being finalised, a range of factors, such as the following, need to be
            considered:
            •         The management and mitigation of cumulative impacts that the
                      proposed project may have on the region.
            •         Alternatives in design, timing and management approaches must be
                      considered and evaluated within reasonable legal parameters.
            •         Demonstrate that all external costs arising from impacts resulting from
                      the proposed project have been internalised, have been, and, thus, will
                      be funded by the project. This has particular relevance to aspects that
                      may fall under the responsibility of other government departments yet
                      have occurred as a direct result of DWAF’s actions.

            The exact details of the planning legislation and other statutes, as well as the
            extent of their applicability to TWP, are not yet fully defined. The existing
            planning and legal framework in which the project is being investigated was
            designed for a totally different constitutional dispensation. The KwaZulu-Natal
            Planning and Development Act (PDA) has not yet been implemented and it is


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            understood that promulgation is likely to happen during 2001. This would be the
            main piece of strictly planning legislation that DWAF will have to comply with.

            There is also some doubt about the extent to which the Development Facilitation
            Act (DFA) may be used. However, an application for authorisation in terms of
            the Environment Conservation Act, 1989, will be submitted at the appropriate
            time. In environmental management terms, the requirements of the NWA and
            NEMA relating to sustainable development need to be very thoroughly
            understood and applied during all the phases of the TWP which lie ahead.


5.3         Site specific level

5.3.1       Dam basins and riverine habitats

            What will be the effect of construction and operation of the dams on the
            ecosystems and organisms in the dam basins and downstream riverine and
            aquatic habitats?
            Context

            The TWP will convert sections of the Thukela and Bushmans Rivers from natural
            river systems to man-made lake environments. The natural river environment
            will be replaced with new lacustrine environments. Downstream of the dams the
            river will be regulated. A scheme the size of the TWP will significantly alter the
            hydrology of the river, which will in turn impact on the geomorphology. A change
            in the combination of these components will result in an altered habitat for
            aquatic organisms and riparian vegetation.

            Impact 1:

            Destruction of an area containing a unique and endangered terrestrial
            ecosystem.

            Cause:

            Construction of dams, flooding of basins and operation of dams.

            Effect:

            Loss of a contiguous area of northern Valley Bushveld in the Jana Basin, which
            is an endemic and threatened veld type in KwaZulu-Natal. Reduction of
            population sizes of plants and animals, and associated disruption of the
            ecosystem, genetic impoverishment and species extinction. Loss of important
            and threatened animal species, and there are indications of new undiscovered
            species being lost as well.




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            Mitigation:

            Extensive and comprehensive survey of terrestrial biodiversity in Jana Basin.
            Mitigation action will be difficult since a large area from a natural system which is
            endemic to KwaZulu-Natal will be destroyed. Securing an equivalent area
            comprising Valley Bushveld, the same as that which will be inundated, is one
            option. However, such an action must meet many specific requirements and
            would take many years to accomplish.

      Comparison of alternatives - Destruction of terrestrial ecosystem at Jana
      ALTERNATIVE          MAX WALL HEIGHT        OPTIMAL WALL HEIGHT      NO-GO OPTION
      OPTIONS

      Impact type          Negative               negative                 no effect

      Magnitude            High                   high                     no effect

      Probability          Definite               definite                 no effect

      Significance         High                   high                     no effect

      Significance after   High                   high                     no effect
      mitigation



      Impact 2:

      Disturbance to downstream riverine habitats and eco systems.

      Cause:

      Water storage conditions which alter the physical and chemical nature of the stored
      water, operation of dams and water releases downstream.

      Effect:

      The dams will alter the current hydrological regime and sediment flows through the
      system. If there is less water and less sediment flowing through the system, it will
      result in aggradation in the middle and lower reaches smothering the pool and riffle
      habitat. Alterations to the flood regime, particularly medium sized floods, will result in
      the loss of certain fish and invertebrate species and reduction in populations of others.
      Certain exotic species (carp) will dominate at the expense of indigenous species.
      Artificial flows from valve testing will cause confusion in certain species as it will result
      in altered cues for life cycle change such as spawning, the drowning of eggs, and may
      also leave invertebrates stranded. Immediately downstream of the dams extensive
      scouring will take place, resulting in the total degradation of the existing habitat at that
      point. Due to various processes which take place in a lake environment, the physical
      and chemical nature of the water in the impoundment will vary considerably from that


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        in the river system. The reduced water quality from the dam will impact on the river for
        at least 30 km downstream. This impact may be in the form of fluctuating iron and
        manganese concentrations, an altering pH value, concentrations of ammonia and
        differences in water temperatures released.

        Mitigation:

        Appropriate operating rules for the dams, linked to the requirements of the Reserve.

        Comparison of alternatives - Disturbance to riverine habitats and ecosystems
        ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS MAX WALL HEIGHT           OPTIMAL WALL HEIGHT    NO-GO OPTION

        Impact type          Negative                 negative               no effect

        Magnitude            Medium                   medium                 no effect

        Probability          Definite                 definite               no effect

        Significance         Medium                   medium                 no effect

        Significance after   Low                      low                    no effect
        mitigation

5.3.2         Compensation

              What recommendations should be made to DWAF for the following:
              • compensation for loss of arable land, fixed property or other similar loss of
                 patrimony
              • resettlement as a result of the construction of infrastructure, flooding or other
                 social and operational aspects of the TWP?

              Context

              Approximately 74 private landowners, approximately 40 labourer families, 2
              tenant families, and members of the Mzinyonke, Mankandane, and
              Labuschagnes Kraal, communities, a total of about 400 to 450 households, will
              be affected either economically or physically by the TWP. These people will
              either be affected by the rising water levels or will be impinged on by the
              construction of aqueducts and other infrastructure.

              Impact:

              Economic, physical and cultural disruption to people.

              Cause:

              Construction of TWP infrastructure, flooding as the impoundments are formed
              and other operational aspects of the TWP.


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            Effect:

            Homesteads, villages and graves will be flooded and there will be a loss of
            natural resources that will affect the economic viability of communities. Both
            communal subsistence agriculture and commercial farming enterprises on arable
            land and grazing land will be affected. The total number of people affected will
            not be greatly influenced by variations in the final heights of the dam walls, of the
            final aqueduct type and route chosen. At least two farms at Mielietuin would
            have to be bought out entirely as they would no longer be viable enterprises.
            The aqueducts and pump stations will result in various subdivisions and the
            operation and access to the pump stations will require additional land purchases.
            Mitigation:

            Compensation. Relocation. The issue of relocation or resettlement is a highly
            emotive and sensitive. Resettlement should be undertaken according to World
            Bank Directive 4.30: Involuntary Resettlement. An overview of these
            requirements is as follows:
            •     Organisational Responsibilities.
                  -    National Government.
                  -    Provincial and Local Government.
                  -    Traditional Authorities.
                  -    Support organisations and NGOs.
            •     Legal Framework.
                  -    The power of the eminent domain.
                  -    Applicable South African legislation.
                  -    Implications for the Resettlement Action Plan.
                  -    Grievance mechanism.
            •     Baseline Data.
                  -    Social and socio-economic environments of re-settlers.
                  -    Social and socio-economic environments of hosts .
                  -    Natural (biophysical) environment.
            •     Compensation
                  -    Compensation principles.
                  -    Eligibility.
                  -    Entitlement matrices.
                  -    Valuation and compensation methodologies and processes.

            •      Resettlement Assistance and After-care.
                   -      Organisational responsibilities.
                   -      Processes and procedures.
                   -      Monitoring and evaluation.
                   -      Resettlement Programming and Scheduling.
                   -      Resettlement Cost Estimates.

                   Importantly, social impacts such as resettlement should be carefully
                   monitored by international funding organisations, especially after the focus
                   that the resettlement of directly affected people received from the World

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                     Commission on Dams. Consideration will have to be given to
                     compensation for loss of communal land for grazing and natural resource
                     harvesting, allocated agricultural land, housing and infrastructure, and the
                     effects on the receiving community. The process must be planned
                     carefully, transparently and inclusively. If not handled properly, it has the
                     potential to substantially disrupt the implementation of the TWP.

      Comparison of alternatives - Disruption to people.

      ALTERNATIVE          MAX WALL HEIGHT        OPTIMAL WALL HEIGHT      NO-GO OPTION
      OPTIONS

      Impact type          negative               Negative                 no effect

      Magnitude            high                   High                     no effect

      Probability          definite               Definite                 no effect

      Significance         high                   High                     no effect

      Significance after   medium                 Medium                   no effect
      mitigation




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6.          CLOSING REMARKS


            The process followed in the assessment of the environmental feasibility of the
            TWP led to some important conclusions and highlighted a number of significant
            issues that will have to be dealt with in further investigations.

            The TWP is a major intervention by government in the economic, social and
            ecological environment, not only in the uThukela Region but also at a national
            level. Within the context of the current constitutional and general legal
            framework in South Africa, it is imperative that considerations of sustainability be
            given appropriate attention in the decision-making processes. It is not sufficient
            to consider environmental impacts at a site specific level only, and failure to
            broaden the scope of assessment could materially affect the viability of the
            project. The TWP Project Management Team gave the important directive that
            the feasibility of the TWP had to be tested at national, regional and site specific
            levels. This Summary Report documents the outcome of this study.

            No single factor was found which unequivocally states that the implementation of
            the TWP should be stopped or modified in some major way. There are however
            certain key elements and issues that should be brought to the attentin of
            decision-makers.

            At a national policy level, the ongoing debate around the relevance and merits of
            large dams must be followed with care and investigation procedures adapted
            where necessary. The international debate is distinctly North-centred, originating
            from disillusionment in developed countries with the outcome and legacy of
            some of their major water projects, and not only those built for water supply.
            International and domestic pressure could be brought to bear on DWAF
            specifically and the Government in general, to postpone or even stop the
            implementation of the TWP. However, this can be mitigated if an appropriate
            hydropolitical management strategy for the implementation of the TWP is
            developed. It must be based on a full disclosure of facts and comprising a
            rational and coherent policy framework, within which the final decision will be
            made. A culturally sensitive communication strategy, underpinned by innovative
            and thorough planning, must also be developed.

            At a regional level, the TWP presents a notable opportunity to stimulate and kick
            start considerable development and economic empowerment in the uThukela
            Region.     However, this is unlikely to occur if comprehensive regional
            development plans and integrated strategic plans and spatial planning for
            regional and local government structures are not drawn up and implemented. To
            do this effectively, will require proactive participation within the TWP institutional
            framework, to take a lead and accept joint responsibility in social upliftment
            programmes. This must involve other government departments, and the TWP
            must participate in, fund and facilitate what is in effect co-operative governance
            programme. This will need an urgent and strategic policy decision from DWAF

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            and probably at Cabinet level to make it possible. It would be an effective way of
            ensuring effective communication, liaison and joint action by national, provincial
            and local government departments (e.g. co-ordination of budgeting procedures
            and spending).

            At a site specific level, feasibility investigations have revealed that there will be a
            loss of a large contiguous area of northern Valley Bushveld in the Jana Basin,
            which is an endemic and threatened veld type in KwaZulu-Natal. There will be a
            reduction of population sizes of plants and animals, and associated disruption of
            the ecosystem, genetic impoverishment and species extinction. Loss of
            important and threatened animal species will also take place and there are
            indications of new undiscovered species being lost as well. It is therefore
            important that an extensive and comprehensive survey of terrestrial biodiversity
            in Jana Basin be carried out during the decision support phase of the TWP. This
            issue is even more important because of certain legal principles in NEMA, and
            international agreements on biodiversity, of which South Africa is a signatory.

            Because of the Constitutional requirements that “everyone has the right to
            administrative action that is lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair”, it is
            imperative that all administrative actions taken in respect of the TWP, should be
            seen to be not only lawful and procedurally correct, but also to have been
            reasonable. To this end, a so-called Project Briefing Document (PBD) should be
            prepared in the following phases of project development. The purpose of the
            PBD is to record all the main decisions that are made with respect to the
            environmental management of the TWP. It will build on documentation already
            produced during the feasibility investigation.        The PBD will set out the
            background to any decisions taken, the status quo as to current decisions and
            the way forward. Where a decision is made not to revisit any previous issues,
            that fact will also be stated. A well thought through array of information will be
            recorded to enable any person and member of any stakeholder group, to
            evaluate the decisions made as the TWP has progressed.


            The Way Forward

            i)     Determination of the Reserve and formulation of a strategy for the
                   management of the water resources of the Thukela River, as part of a
                   national water resource strategy, should be put in hand without delay.
            ii)    If there is to be continued economic growth and development in South
                   Africa and in the Vaal River System, then augmentation of water resources
                   must be undertaken. If a decision is made not to augment, it would
                   potentially simulate trends synonymous with a slump in the national
                   economy which includes job losses and increasing levels of
                   unemployment, increased inflation, reduction in disposable incomes, and a
                   shortage of funds (through taxes) for national development initiatives.
            iii)   The TWP does create the possibility of causing political tension between
                   National, Provincial and local government and thereby impacting on the

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                   effectiveness of government in general. This emanates from perceptions
                   created around the export of water from KwaZulu-Natal. Contingency
                   planning should be done to effectively deal with the phenomena and to
                   neutralise any actions that may be taken, so that it need not become a
                   significant factor affecting the feasibility of the project.

            iv)    It is possible that international and domestic pressure can be brought to
                   bear on DWAF specifically and the Government in general, which MAY
                   postpone or even stop the implementation of the TWP. This is caused by
                   the perceptions of governments in the developed world, international aid,
                   funding agencies and investors and NGO’s at all levels, that the
                   construction and operation of large dams is not acceptable in the modern
                   time. However, once again there are effective ways of dealing with this.
            v)     Issue around the effects of AIDS must be more fully understood before a
                   final decision is made to implement the TWP.
            vi)    The TWP presents a notable opportunity to stimulate and kick start
                   considerable development and economic empowerment in the uThukela
                   Region. However, this will not occur if comprehensive regional
                   development plans and integrated strategic plans and spatial planning for
                   regional and local government structures are not drawn up and
                   implemented. To do this effectively, will require proactive participation
                   within the TWP institutional framework, to take a lead and accept joint
                   responsibility in social upliftment programmes. This must involve other
                   government departments, and the TWP should, if possible, participate in,
                   fund and facilitate what is in effect a co-operative governance programme.
                   What is even more important is that urgent and strategic policy decisions
                   need to be taken in DWAF and probably at Cabinet level, to make sure that
                   appropriate co-operative governance was instituted for the TWP. It would
                   be an effective way of ensuring effective communication, liaison and joint
                   action by national, provincial and local government departments (e.g. co-
                   ordination of budgeting procedures and spending).




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                             THUKELA WATER PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDY
                         ENVIRONMENTAL FEASIBILITY STUDY SUMMARY REPORT
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March 2001                                                                                                                                        PB V000-00-6200
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     Figure 1: Locality Plan




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                                                            THUKELA WATER PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDY
                                                       ENVIRONMENTAL FEASIBILITY STUDY SUMMARY REPORT
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March 2001                                                                                                                                        PB V000-00-6200
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                                                            THUKELA WATER PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDY
                                                       ENVIRONMENTAL FEASIBILITY STUDY SUMMARY REPORT
                                                                               xiii

								
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