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The Unique Sterkfontein Dam With Earth Filled Dam Wall

The Unique Sterkfontein Dam With Earth Filled Dam Wall

Near Harrismith, Free State, SOUTH AFRICA
A view of the stunning Sterkfontein Dam built in a time of economical growth for South Africa. Learn more about this unique dam.

INSPIRATION PHOTO

A Short History Behind The Sterkfontein Dam & Tugela-Vaal Project
The Unique Sterkfontein Dam With Earth Filled Dam Wall

The city of Johannesburg underwent substantial growth during the 1960’s to the 1970’s. So rapidly that the main water supply to the city, the Vaal Dam, was in danger of long term shortage. Thus the Tugela-Vaal Project began, later this project would be renamed the Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme.

The Tugela River is a five hundred and thirty seven kilometre long river that runs through KwaZulu-Natal, one of South Africa’s provinces, into the ocean. The concept of the project was to store some of the river’s water in a reservoir to be used in times of water shortage at the Vaal Dam.

At first the project would have been in the Elands River, but if a reservoir was built there a Bantustan of Qwaqwa would have partially flooded. Therefore the project was moved to Nuwejaarspruit and construction began in 1969, with the first phase appointed in 1977.

A seven thousand five hundred and ten foot long, two hundred and twenty six foot high, earth filled embankment was built in the first phase. Immediately after completion the final phase began, and the bank was raised to the height of three hundred and five feet, the crest measured at a length of ten thousand and forty feet.

The dam took eleven years to build and was named for the farm on which the construction workers temporary housing stood, Sterkfontein, meaning strong spring.

Characteristics Of Sterkfontein Dam
  • At capacity the dam holds over two million cubic metres of water.
  • At capacity the surface area is no more than seventy square kilometres.
  • The dam wall is the largest in South Africa when considering volume.
  • It has no spillway, making it a truly unique dam – the dam is not at risk of flooding as excess water is ejected via the outlet valves.
  • The Sterkfontein Dam is home to another dam – the Driekloof Dam lies inside the larger dam and is considered a separate dam as it is the upper reservoir for the water project.

The photographe showcased above is merely one angle of the vast dam, and was captured by R. Nagda.

harrismith
free state
sterkfontein dam
sterkfontein
free state province
drakensberg pumped storage scheme
tugela vaal water project

harrismith
free state
sterkfontein dam
sterkfontein
free state province
drakensberg pumped storage scheme
tugela vaal water project

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