Lafarge provides concrete solutions for new Bloemfontein reservoir

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The Readymix business line of Lafarge South Africa played a key role in the construction of the recently completed Naval Hill Reservoir in Bloemfontein. The 35 megalitre reservoir is part of a new water supply system, which will serve over 45 000 people in Mangaung Metro Municipality, as well as unlock development in the area.

Mangaung includes South Africa’s judicial capital, Bloemfontein, as well as the neighbouring towns of Botshabelo and Thaba ‘Nchu. Lafarge South Africa is the local presence of the international Lafarge Group, the world leader in building materials. The Naval Hill Reservoir project was in keeping with the Group’s new brand baseline, ‘Building better cities’, pledging Lafarge’s commitment to provide solutions that help to create better and more sustainable cities, which are desirable living environments for all people. 

Construction of the reservoir began in May 2013 and was completed in October last year. The project provided employment for 37 local labourers and 39 skilled labourers. Using Lafarge’s highly regarded premium technical cement, PowercretePlus CEM II 42,5R, the Readymix team supplied 700 m³ of standard 25 MPa concrete for the foundations, with 30 MPa and 35 MPa high strength grades for the walls.

Naval Hill is the highest point in the area with extremely steep slopes. “We provided a concrete pumping service but getting the concrete to the site was still a challenge as it restricted us to four cubic metre truck loads at a time,” comments AnathiZitumane, Lafarge Product Development Manager - Readymix. “The reservoir was a heavily reinforced structure. We designed high slump pumpable mixes that were easy to place but had early strength gain for rapid demoulding.” 

The reservoir will enable the extension of water delivery to some disadvantaged communities. It will also serve as buffer capacity for peak water demand periods and, by the positioning of the reservoir on the highest point in the area, have sufficient pressure to provide up to 24 hours emergency supply in the event of electrical or mechanical interruptions.

“Our team worked closely with the main contractor and overcame the challenges of the difficult location,” adds Zitumane. “The project was finished on time with excellent concrete finishes.  When the country is experiencing many demonstrations protesting about poor service delivery, we are proud to have been involved in the Mangaung Metro Municipality’s important water delivery initiative.”


Naval Hill – a fascinating history

  • Its name comes from being the site of a British naval-gun emplacement during the Anglo-Boer War
  • Naval Hill was once home to many leopards and was called ‘Mangaung’, meaning place of the leopards. The name was adopted by the Mangaung Metro Municipality
  • To this day, visitors to the area can clearly see a large white horse outlined on the eastern side of the hill, created when a British cavalry regiment used it as a base
  • It is home to the Franklin Game Reserve, making Bloemfontein one of the few cities in the world to have a game reserve in the middle of an urban area.
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