Water operations

Bloem Water provides bulk water services to Municipalities in the Free State: Mangaung Metropolitan, Kopanong and Mantsopa Municipality. The Entity strives to provide water that exceeds local and international standards. Since its establishment, Bloem Water, continues to exceed water standards through its effective drinking water supply system. The Entity applies operational controls, corrective and preventative measures necessary to ensure a safe and reliable drinking water supply.

The Entity has reached its 30 years of providing bulk water services in the three (3) Municipalities: Mangaung Metropolitan, Kopanong and Mantsopa, in the Southern Region of the Free State and grown to service a population of more than 1,2 million since establishment in 1991. Its operations span across four(4) Regions with seven(7) water treatment works the details of which are summarised in the table below.

RegionSourcePumping SystemTreatmentStorageArea of Service
Orange River

Orange River

Boreholes

Raft Tolhuis
Brannewijnskuil
Vogelfontein
Philippolis x 1.2 Ml/dReservoirs x 2Philippolis
Gariep DamGariepGariep x 2.8 Ml/dReservoirs x 2Gariep
Orange River & BoreholesHennie Steyn SAR
Driefontein
Kleinzuurfontein

Bethulie x 12.0 Ml/d

Reservoirs x  5

Bethulie

Springfontein

Trompsburg

Kalkfontein Dam &

Boreholes

Kalkfontein

Lemoenkloof

Jagersfontein x 2Ml/d

Reservoirs x 1

Jagersfontein

Fauriesmith

Caledon River

Welbedacht Dam

Caledon River

Knellpoort Dam

Boreholes

Tienfontein

Novo

Reddersburg

Edenburg

Dewetsdorp

Raw and Clear

Water

Welbedacht x

145 Ml/d

Reservoirs x 7

 Bloemfontein

Dewetsdorp

Wepener

Reddersburg

Edenburg

Modder River

Groothoek Dam

Rustfontein Dam

Knellpoort Dam

Boreholes

OK

Groothoek

Lesaka

Raw & Clear Water

Rustfontein x 100 Ml/d

Groothoek x 18 Ml/d

Reservoirs x 6

Thaba Nchu

Botshabelo

Villages

Water quality

Despite the ever-deteriorating raw water quality in the catchment, the Entity has been excelling in line with the water quality standards of SANS 241:2015. The outstanding operational strategies and ever committed personnel have ensured that the water quality produced in Bloem Water exceeds the target as agreed with the Shareholder. The continuing partnership between the Entity and the University of the Free State laboratory provides independent assurance on the water quality to stakeholders.

Welbedacht Dam

The historic challenges of Welbedacht Dam due to siltation that comes from afar back as 1973 when the Dam was built continues to affect the operations of the Water Treatment Works. The Dam has lost 95% of its capacity since its inception, and this impact the operations especially during the rainy season. The Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) at the Dam varied for the first time from 200 to 90 000 during 2020/21 financial year. This was due to excessive rainfall that resulted in the sudden high flow rate in the catchment. Furthermore, the environmental challenges in the upper Caledon River and the actions of the Clothing Industries in the neighbouring country of Lesotho exacerbated the Raw Water challenges affecting the Welbedacht Dam downstream.  

Rustfontein Dam

The wellspring of raw water is in the upper Modder River catchment, which is for the most part contaminated with high algae from the upper Modder River. The challenges in the upper Modder Riet Catchment due to non-compliance of Wastewater Treatment Works from the Municipality affects the raw water quality of the Dam. Consequentially, the Dam has a high green growth content, named Blue Green algae, in certain seasons. This water presents with high levels of undeniable degree of bacteriological substance causing contamination that requires the Entity to put concerted efforts in its water purification process to achieve the drinking water quality that is above the required standard. 

Orange River

The raw water in Orange River includes modern effluents from the ventures in the upper Caledon in Lesotho, further the river supplies Bethulie, Gariep and Phillippolis WTW’s. During the blustery season the turbidity is high however, this is manageable for each treatment works. The range of the turbidity varies between 400–20 000 NTU. The South Africa Railway (SAR) pre-treatment facility is in place to assist in reducing the silt before the water is gravitationally supplied to Bethulie for further treatment.

Groothoek Dam

Groothoek Dam lies on the banks Kgabanyane River near Black Mountain in Thaba Nchu. Almost 70% of its runoff would under normal circumstances flow through the Dam. However, there are no lakes or natural flows into this catchment which could improve the level of the Dam.   The raw water quality of this Dam is genuinely steady, with normal turbidity of under 80 NTU, with exceptionally low contamination from the surface spill over. The Dam significantly increased its level in the year under review which guarantees the Entity to supply bulk water to Mangaung Metro beyond the coming rainy season.

Xhariep Dam

It was identified that the steel raw water pipeline at Welbedacht Water Treatment Works needed cathodic protection to prevent the pipeline from corroding. The project will repair the pipe coating, prevent the corrosion of the pipeline and extend the lifespan thereof.

Kalkfontein Dam

The Kalkfontein Dam lies on the banks of the Riet River, between Fauresmith and Koffiefontein towns. The Dam has seen a good increase in its level due to heavy rainfall. The Dam has been operating at an average of 20 percent level for the past five financial years due to the drought. Its raw water is advantageous for Jagersfontein WTW which the Entity is operating on behalf of Kopanong Local Municipality which supplies purified water to the local towns.