Drakenstein Municipality awarded R1.4bn grant for wastewater upgrades | Infrastructure news

National Treasury’s decision to award Drakenstein Municipality a Budget Facility for Infrastructure (BFI) grant of R1.4 billion over the next three financial years is a clear sign that a healthy investment climate has been created in Drakenstein.

It is also an endorsement of the Municipality’s competence to spend allocated budget on infrastructure upgrades – in the interest of its broader community.

The Municipality (covering Paarl, Wellington, Mbekweni, Gouda, Saron, Hermon and Simondium) will spend the grant funds on wastewater and sanitation upgrades and rehabilitation across the Drakenstein area.

These include the upgrading of the Paarl Wastewater Treatment Works and the construction of the Southern Paarl Bulk Sewer, as well as the rehabilitation and upgrade of Drakenstein sanitation infrastructure to ensure sustainability and resilience.

Treasury awards these grants to selected municipalities to fund large and strategic interventions. Projects should have a minimum total cost of R1 billion and should have substantial long-term impacts on economic growth, social equity and employment creation. (See Treasury’s Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement for more information.)

Alderman Conrad Poole, Executive Mayor of Drakenstein Municipality, says: “This is definitely a game changer for us – not only for our area’s wastewater and sanitation service levels, sustainability and resilience, but also for the confidence that National Government is expressing in our Municipality’s financial management and spending capabilities.

“The bank loans that the Municipality made earlier to erect new infrastructure and improve others have shown our appetite for investing – to make Drakenstein more attractive for business owners and developers, and to make economic growth and job creation here possible. That is why we are now attracting this type of investment.”

The Executive Mayor is full of praise for the team who made this possible.

“This is a major coup for Drakenstein and its people, and we are proud of this achievement.”

Residents across Drakenstein will benefit from this grant as it will ensure increased bulk sewer capacity to unlock future developments, which include social and private residential housing, commercial hubs and industrial opportunities. Other benefits are:

  • Improved sewage treatment processes, reduced energy demand, and operation and maintenance costs at the Paarl Wastewater Treatment Works;
  • Improved quality of effluent released into the Berg River which is vital for the livelihood of surrounding communities (domestic and agricultural, especially for growers of export fruit and produce);
  • Ensured compliance with the prescribed effluent quality standards;
  • Significant economic and socio-economic benefits (i.e. job opportunities, attracting public and private sector investment ensuring the growth of the local economy);
  • An increased tax base and revenue generation; and
  • Sustainable opportunities such as green energy (i.e. transforming sludge into biogas) which will also reduce the high electricity demand at the Paarl Wastewater Treatment Works.
The BFI project is necessary as a number of integrated residential and commercial developments with noticeable economic and socio-economic benefits are planned which would put added pressure on existing systems. The BFI project will increase the wastewater and sludge treatment capacity for Paarl, Wellington and surrounds to accommodate the current demands and to cater for future demands and developments.

Earlier this year, Drakenstein Municipality became one of only three Western Cape municipalities to receive Green Drop Status from the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). Its Hermon Wastewater Treatment System scored an impressive 93%.

The Green Drop certification is an incentive-based regulation programme of the DWS. Municipalities receive Green Drop status when they achieve scores of 90% or higher, against stringent Green Drop assessment requirements.

Only 22 wastewater systems out of 850 in South Africa were awarded Green Drop status. The audit was performed for the period of 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 and evidence against five key performance areas were considered: capacity management; environmental management; financial management; technical management; and effluent and sludge compliance.

“Drakenstein Municipality prides ourselves on achieving wastewater treatment excellence. This funding will enable us to modernise our aging Paarl Wastewater Treatment Works and uphold high levels of effluent quality,” says Alderman Poole.

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