On Thursday, Eskom said that the country’s current electricity supply is stable and the utility is maintaining a sufficient and consistent base load generation capacity.
Due to the stability, the Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme (DPSS) will pump water to support the inter-basin water transfers required by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).
The transfer of water from the Tugela River using the DPSS will ensure water security to the Vaal River system, where demand now exceeds the long-term yield of the river system, the parastatal explained.
Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme
The utility explains: “This is possible due to the improvement that Eskom has achieved in its generation plant performance over the past year – the Energy Availability Factor (EAF) is currently 78.6 % – which has also allowed Eskom to celebrate going more than a year without load shedding.
“Eskom is able to assist the DWS by using electricity to pump the water and still be able to maintain the plant even with planned maintenance increasing in the summer months.”
This water transfer scheme entails the transfer of water from the Tugela River over the Drakensberg Mountains to the Vaal River System to provide for increasing water demand due to urbanisation and industrialisation in the Gauteng area.
Power and water work in unison
Eskom and the DWS, completed this project in 1982 to serve as a pumped storage scheme for generating electricity and a pumping station to transfer water from Woodstock Dam in KwaZulu-Natal to Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State, the utility said in a statement.
“Water is released by DWS from Sterkfontein Dam to support the Vaal Dam. Eskom has transferred approximately 57.6 million cubic metres (m3) since 1 May 2016 until 31 August 2016,” Eskom explained.
“The targeted water transfer is at least 285 million m3 per water resources planning year (1 May to 30 April) until the Vaal River system is stabilised.
“Eskom supports the call by the Minister of Water and Sanitation on all sectors to continue to reduce water use and educate and raise awareness about water conservation.”
Eskom is confident it will continue to have sufficient generation capacity to continue the water transfers from the Tugela River to the Vaal River system, in order to assist to maintain water security for the economic hub of South Africa.