Carlene van der Heiden describes her time working on the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme project as an NCC Environmental Officer (EO).
'Ingula', roughly translated means the creamy foam that comes off the top of the calabash beer. It is a symbol that the ancestors are happy. The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme is the name of the project I am currently working on, located 55km outside of Ladysmith, in KZN. Read more about the project here: NCC case study.
I was previously at Ingula in June 2011 so a lot has changed in one and a half years. I am also taking up a role that I haven't done before, so it is a challenging experience and one which I will always fondly remember. Don't get me wrong, I love my home and look forward to going back to Cape Town, but Ingula has a sort of hold on me from the first time I visited the site in April of 2010. The words from one of my favourite poems describes this hold so perfectly.
“The strong life that never knows harness; The wilds where the caribou call; The freshness, the freedom, the farness – Oh God! How I'm stuck on it all.” Robert Service - the Spell of the Yukon
Working as an Environmental Officer (EO) on a transmission line means driving, a lot of driving, and also a lot of time getting in and out of your vehicle opening and closing gates. You also see a large amount of cows out here in the midlands and they have recently had their calves for the season. I have taken to telling them how cute they are - I think I am going mad! But it's a worthwhile experience and I am learning new things every day. My time on the transmission line is almost over and, although it has been a short time, I can't believe how much has happened and how much I've learnt. The 400kV transmission line runs from the Pumped Storage Scheme to the Venus Substation, 94 km away. There are a total of 254 towers, through a number of different farms, with specific and spaced out access points. There are therefore a number of possible environmental issues that this extent of construction could face. The purpose of environmental compliance monitoring on a site like this is to ensure that these issues are avoided as far as possible. I feel that the job I do every day makes a difference and it’s a good feeling to have! Pictures say a thousand words and below are some of the gems taken in and around this awesome place.
Written by Trokkie (my Ingula nickname)