The dam, expected to increase water storage in the Western Cape, would provide 81Mm3 of water a year.

The groups invited to submit tenders were made up of: Hochtief Construction, Concor Holdings and IDAMA JV; Grinaker-LTA, Group 5 Construction, WBHO Construction and Western Cape Empowerment Contractors; and Cbpo Engenharia, Basil Read and the Consortium of Emerging Civil Contractors.

Tenders would have to be in by March 2004, and the award of the contract was scheduled for 30 April to allow construction to start on June 1.

The Berg River dam would be the first modern concrete-faced rock fill dam to be constructed in South Africa.

It would be on the upper reaches of the Berg river, 5km west of Franschhoek, and would be 60m high with a storage capacity of 130Mm3.

The Berg Water project would be used to overcome the looming water shortage in the city of Cape Town and for agricultural users supplied by the Riviersonderend-Berg River government water scheme.