13 October 2005


1. The area of jurisdiction of this Association is on both sides of the Breede River. It starts at Brandvlei Dam near Worcester and ends close to the town of Bonnievale.

2 One of the principal objectives of the Association as set out in its Constitution is to regulate the distribution and division of raw water in the Breede River. The constitution clearly states that the water is impure and may be unsuitable for household use and human consumption.

3. Serious pollution takes place near Worcester where the Municipality of Worcester discharges waste water into the Breede River. This pollution takes place close to the point where the water of Brandvlei Dam is being released into the river and thus affects all water users - especially those nearest the point of pollution.

This state of affairs has been brought to the attention of Water Affairs on a number of occasions without any success and thus the pollution continues uninterruptedly.

4. Please note that within this Association's area of jurisdiction there are no settlements, communities and other households of poor people. No households exist that are in need of household water and water for sanitation.

5. All households and institutions that need water for household and sanitation purposes fall within the boundaries of Municipalities, farms and businesses (wine cellars).

This Association provides raw water mainly to irrigation farmers and the Breede River Winelands Municipality, which includes the towns of Robertson, Ashton, Montagu and Bonnievale. The Municipality provides purified water to all households and people within the said towns.

It is the duty of all irrigation farmers and rural businesses (wine cellars) to provide household water and water for sanitation to all their employees, and this they indeed do. Not only do they supply running water, but the greatest majority of them provide housing with bathrooms. toilets and electricity.

This Association has to date received no complaints about an inadequate water supply to workers.

6 This Association supplies rural schools with water without charge and even pays the charges levied by Water Affairs.

7. As far as beginner farmers (the previously disadvantaged) are concerned the position is as follows

(i) As far back as 2002 this Association decided to make available 18.3 ha water use rights for which land belonging to this Association is scheduled, to the previously disadvantaged. This water is intended for the irrigation of Municipal land which the Robertson Municipality earmarked for the beginner farmers. Due to red tape and unnecessary delays, not a drop of this water is being used to date. We do not know what causes this delay This Association also offered to pay for the installation of the pump on the Breede River and part of the main pipeline.

(ii) In 2003 the Management Committee decided to consider supplying beginner farmers with water from the Greater-Brandvlei Dam. As a result of the WAR program of the Minister of Water Affairs and the workshop which was held last month at Worcester, the Management Committee of this Association has inter alia decided:

(a) That a mandate be obtained from the members of this Association to supply water from the Breede River and Greater Brandvlei to the previously disadvantaged communities for the irrigation of 300 ha @ 7 450 m / ha/ year. Preference will be given to farm workers and then to the poor and workless within its area of jurisdiction.

(b) That a Committee be formed consisting of representatives of this Association, small farmer Associations, potential small farmers, the Departments of Water Affairs and Agriculture, local authorities and farmers' Associations. This Committee must do the necessary planning for the utilization of he water for the above-mentioned 300 ha. It must also see to the execution of such planning and also be of assistance to the beginner farmers.

(c) When the said volume of 300 ha water is utilised by beginner farmers, consideration will be given to the provision of more water for the same purpose.

8. Irrigation farms in the Bonnievale area have also been offered to the previously disadvantaged, but due to lack of funds the deals fell through.

9. Two wineries i.e. the Robertson Winery and Van Loveren Winery, bought two farms for black empowerment. Each farm is scheduled for + 50 ha water and they were bought at + R5 million each, i.e. + R100 000 per scheduled hectare.

10. To develop one hectare of land and to put it under vines will cost + R100 000. Add to this the cost of pumps and pipelines as well as the cost of buildings, roads and electricity, the total costs to develop 1 ha will be uneconomical and unaffordable. It will be much cheaper to buy a developed irrigation farm (which come up for sale from time to time) than to use water for the development of new irrigation farms.

C W L Baard