The seawater 15 Ml/day desalination plant, which is under construction in Voorbaai for the Mossel Bay Municipality, is almost complete and is still within the budget which the Town Council approved for the project.
According to a news release by the Municipality, the expenditure to date is R137,46 million. The projected final cost of the project is R194,9 million. Council approved a budget of R210 million.
The Municipality has reacted to rumours that the project is already overspent. It says the pipeline portion of the project has turned out to be more difficult than anticipated because of extremely hard geological formations that complicated the piling operations at the coffer dam. Rough seas also damaged the cofferdam. As a result the laying of the pipelines was delayed.
Because of the emergency nature of the project the contract for this part of the project was awarded on a cost plus 15 percent basis.
“As a result of the setbacks that were experienced, this portion of the project has turned out to be more expensive than anticipated but it is under control. The electricity and onshore plant portions of the project are on course to be completed within the tendered amount.
“Insurance claims have been submitted in respect of the damage to the cofferdam and the Municipality is hopeful of recovering some of the costs in this way,” said the Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz.
She said the project costs are monitored strictly and weekly meetings take place between the Municipality, PetroSA and the consulting engineers on the project. Regular meetings are also held with the main contractors to discuss costs.
The project is on schedule to come into production at the end of March 2011 after the schedule was revised because of the reduced urgency of the project.
PetroSA, which is entitled to 5 Ml of desalinated water a day from the plant, and the Department of Water Affairs have contributed R80 million and R92 million respectively to the cost of the project. The balance is financed by the Municipality from its own resources.