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Upgrade on track

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The City of Cape Town Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg at the Voëlvlei high lift water pump station. PHOTO: BRUCE SUTHERLAND
The City of Cape Town Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg at the Voëlvlei high lift water pump station. PHOTO: BRUCE SUTHERLAND

The R113 million upgrade of the Voëlvlei high lift water pump station will finally see installation of various smart features at the facility, as well as general refurbishment.

The Voëlvlei high lift water pump station, situated 112 km outside Cape Town, adjacent to the Voëlvlei Water Treatment Plant, takes treated water from the Voëlvlei water treatment plant and pumps it via 84 km of pipeline.

This to supply water to 90% of the northwestern parts of the city which includes Blaauwberg, Dunoon, Milnerton, Goodwood and Parow.

The R113 million upgrade at the pump station started in August 2019 and is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.

The City of Cape Town Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg says investing in water infrastructure is a priority for the City to ensure that residents continue to have a reliable water supply.

She explains that the R113 million investment into upgrading the Voëlvlei water pump station reflects the City’s commitment to providing well-run services now and for generations to come.

“This significant upgrade, with a key focus on using advanced technology, aims to improve and enhance operational efficiencies at this water scheme, and ultimately strengthening water security. What is important to know, is that the pump station at this water scheme has been in operation since 1976 and the dedicated water and sanitation team working on site has meticulously maintained this infrastructure and allowed it to operate beyond its designed lifespan. In fact, one of the main reasons for the upgrade taking place now is that the parts required for maintenance and repairs are no longer in production,” Limberg says.

Key technology advancements

The key technology advancements include:

  • A new redesigned Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (Scada) system, which monitors and adjusts the pumping system to ensure that we operate as energy-efficiently as possible;. newly-installed temperature and vibration detection equipment to monitor the condition of the pump sets. The components feed into the Scada system and the data is logged for review by the maintenance staff. The data then provides the maintenance staff a predictive glance into the condition of the equipment, allowing for maintenance work to be planned and budgeted for more efficiently;
  • variable speed drives at the pump station to assist with managing the pressure and flow in the pipelines to reduce breakage and leaks. It further enables a “soft start” feature to prolong the lifespan of equipment, by eliminating the starting stresses and forces normally exerted on pump sets during start up. It also enables the motor to be run as efficiently as possible, by reducing the energy loss during the electrical energy to hydraulic energy conversion

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