Berg River Dam construction

11 December 2012

The construction of the Berg River Dam in Franschhoek has incorporated many innovative techniques in dam construction design including the ability to mimic the natural flooding; the dynamic compaction of alluvial deposits and the use of a number of cementitious products that enables efficiency of operation and cost. The result has been a number of  awards for engineering and technical excellence.

More about the Berg River Project:


The R1,6- billion flagship Berg Water Project in Franschhoek augments the supply of water to the City of Cape Town. In March 2009 it was officially inaugurated by former President Kgalema Motlanthe. It was mandated in May 2002 and became operational in December 2007.

Project Profile

A new dam with a capacity of 130 million m cubed was constructed together with a supplementary scheme, consisting of a two pump station river abstraction weir and a pipeline matrix of 12 km.


In addition to the dam, an extension scheme located 10 km downstream, alongside the Drakenstein Prison, diverts winter high flows entering the Berg River from the Franschhoek, Wemmershoek and Dwars River tributaries, supplementing water stored in the dam. Water from the scheme is pumped to the dam via the Drakenstein Pump Station, along a 9,5-km pipeline.

The project was the first in South Africa to be designed, constructed and operated in strict accordance with the guidelines of the United Nations World Commission on Dams.

Another unique feature of South Africa’s Berg River Dam is the fact that it is the first large dam in the world where provision has been made to prevent environmental catastrophes by putting into place flood release mechanisms.

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