A licence to enlarge Tzaneen Dam, a dam with a safety risk, was issued on Friday, 10 February 2023, to enable the construction work to begin on site.The project is aimed at augmenting the water supply in the Greater Letaba River Catchment of the Limpopo Province, by raising the dam wall by 3 meters, to increase the yield of the dam to address water shortages. This will then result in an increase in the gross storage capacity from 157 million to 195 million. This project is set to largely benefit the agricultural sector, as it will make water available for the establishment of resource-poor farmers in the irrigated agriculture sector around the area.
The Tzaneen Dam spillway was partially demolished in 2016 to allow the new spillway configuration in the form of a labyrinth type to be constructed. The scope of the work includes the demolition of the top of the existing spillway, the construction of a labyrinth spillway, and other minor works.The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has been appointed as the Implementing Agent. The project target date to commence construction is March 2023, with an estimated project completion date of March 2025. To date, demolition of the original spillway has been completed, and this accounts for 10% project’s progress. Upon construction completion, Tzaneen Dam will be a 53,3 m high Category III dam. A Category III dam classification is the highest hazard rating by the Dam Safety Office, considering the size and the potential for loss of life in the unlikely event of a catastrophic failure of the dam.