Hartbeespoort Dam

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Hartbeespoort Dam
South Africa-Hartebeespoot dam02.jpg
The crest gates added in 1970
Hartbeespoort Dam is located in South Africa
Hartbeespoort Dam
Location of Hartbeespoort Dam
Official name Hartbeespoort Dam
Country South Africa
Location North West Province
Coordinates 25°44′51″S 27°52′1″E / 25.74750°S 27.86694°E / -25.74750; 27.86694Coordinates: 25°44′51″S 27°52′1″E / 25.74750°S 27.86694°E / -25.74750; 27.86694
Purpose Irrigation and domestic use
Construction began 1921[1]
Opening date 1923[1] (renovated: 1969)
Owner(s) Department of Water Affairs
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Arch dam
Impounds Crocodile River
Height 59 m[1]
Length 149.5 m
Width (base) 22 m
Reservoir
Creates Hartbeespoort Dam Reservoir
Total capacity 195,000,000 m3[1]
Catchment area 4 120 km2[1]
Surface area 2 062.8 ha

Hartbeespoort Dam (also known as Harties) is an arch type dam situated in the North West Province of South Africa. It lies in a valley to the south of the Magaliesberg mountain range and north of the Witwatersberg mountain range, about 35 kilometers west of Pretoria. The name of the dam means "pass of the hartebeest" (a species of antelope) in Afrikaans. This "poort" in the Magaliesberg was 'n popular spot for hunters, where they cornered and shot the hartebeest.[2] The dam was originally designed for irrigation, which is currently its primary use, as well as for domestic and industrial use.[3] The dam's hazard potential has been ranked high[citation needed].

The town of Hartbeespoort is situated close to the dam wall and the villages of Kosmos, Melodie, Ifafi, Meerhof, The Coves Estate and Pecanwood Estate can be found alongside its banks. Hartbeespoort was previously known as Schoemansville, after General Hendrik Schoeman.[4]


History[edit]

Plaque located at the dam wall gives a short history of the dam.
Hartbeespoort Dam bridge
Carries Motor vehicle traffic
Width Single lane
Toll None

In 1906, the government ordered a public inquiry into the feasibility of building an irrigation dam in the Hartbeespoort of the Magaliesberg. The engineer of the Department of Irrigation that led the inquiry, submitted a favourable report to the government and the Hartebeestpoort Act. 32 of 1914 was accepted by Parliament. As early as 1909 there were test holes drilled at the bottom of the river to determine whether the rock formation was suitable for building such a huge dam. The size of the catchment area was calculated, the water flow was measured and estimates made of the potential irrigable land. Downstream claims to the existing water stream was established. The topography of the riverbank and rock formations were examined to evaluate the viability of the poort for the construction project.[5]

The construction of the dam officially started in August 1916. Initially work was delayed pending a court judgement with General Hendrik Schoeman and a certain Mr. Marshevin about the expropriation of their properties. The dispute was later resolved but discontent remained after a hastily passed law to facilitate the expropriation. In his book “Agter die Magalies”, Bertus de Beer argues that the government acted in a heavy-handed manner to resolve a number of issues surrounding the construction of the dam. Mother Nature caused further delays due to flooding. In 1914 and again in 1918, huge amounts of construction wood washed down the river and was never recovered. During 1915, the wall of the Geldenhuysdam further up the river broke and the flooding of the site also caused a delay.

The disruption caused by the First World War and the complications brought on by the Rebellion of a group of Afrikaners, brought further delays to the building. Then the first company was liquidated due to financial losses resulting from the floods and delays. In 1921 we find that a second company took on the project and appointed an engineer, F. W. Scott that tackled the project with renewed energy. Finally in April 1923, after all the setbacks and political upheaval the project was eventually completed. In September of that same year the road over the wall of the Dam and through the tunnel was opened to traffic. The dam first overflowed in March 1925.[6]

The dam was built on the farm Hartebeestpoort, once owned by the Boer General Hendrik Schoeman (1840–1901). The farm and adjacent land was acquired by the State, mainly through the facilitation of his son, Johan Schoeman (1887–1967), in about 1912. The completion of the dam made the agricultural land north of the Magaliesberg much more valuable, especially land close to canals and the Krokodil River. As a result, various farms of the Bakwena people of the Tswana ethnic group who lived in the area for many generations were appropriated or lost by various means and white farmers were settled in their place.


Construction[edit]

Top of the dam wall and the motorway.

The dam is 149.5 metres (163.5 yd) long and 59.4 metres (195 ft) high and is built across a gorge cutting through the Magaliesberg. The reservoir is fed by the waters of the Crocodile River and Magalies River and covers approximately 18.83 square kilometres (7.27 sq mi), with a mean depth of 9.6 metres (31 ft) and maximum depth of 45.1 metres (148 ft). It has a surface area of 20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi), and its normal range of annual water level fluctuation is 0.8 metres (2.6 ft). The mixing type of the reservoir is monomictic.[7]

A tarmac road skirts the water's edge on the north side; along its route it passes through a 56.6 m long tunnel and also crosses the dam.


Use[edit]

Sailing vessels at the Transvaal Yacht Club

Hartbeespoort Dam supplies irrigation water through a 544 kilometres (338 mi) long network of canals to 159.76 square kilometres (61.68 sq mi) of farmland on which tobacco, wheat, lucerne, fruit and flowers are produced.

Hartbeespoort has become a very popular holiday and weekend resort for the inhabitants of Johannesburg and Pretoria; it is the principal water recreation area of northern Gauteng and many types of water sports are enjoyed on the dam. The Transvaal Yacht Club has been operating at the dam since its construction in 1923.[8]

NSRI Station 25, located at the dam, is one of only three National Sea Rescue Institute inland stations and provides a water rescue service at the dam.


Water quality[edit]

Water flowing into the Crocodile River from the service spillway for downstream use.

Hartbeespoort Dam has been renowned for its poor water quality since the mid twentieth century.[9] The Dam suffers severe eutrophication, resulting from high concentrations of phosphates and nitrates in the Crocodile River, the major inflow. The primary pollution sources are industrial and domestic effluent from Gauteng.[10] The extreme level of eutrophication is evident in the excessive growth of microscopic algae and cyanobacteria, and macrophytes such as water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes).[11] The South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry launched the Harties metsi a me (Harties, My Water) programme to find solutions to the water quality problems.[12][13] Is was estimated that R900 million of tax payers' money would be used from 2004 to 2015 in the clean-up and rehabilitation of the dam and its catchment, and for related community projects.[14] Its catchment area includes Bruma lake in the Jukskei River and Centurion lake in the Hennops River.[14]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Hartbeespoort Dam Integrated Biological Remediation Program". Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  2. ^ de Beer, B. K. (1975). Agter die Magalies. Fontainebleau: Postma Publikasies. p. 381. 
  3. ^ "SA's Water History – Taming the poort". Water Research Commission. June 2008. Retrieved 2010-10-23. 
  4. ^ Carruthers, Vincent (1990). The Magaliesberg. Johannesburg: Southern Book Publishers. p. 333. 
  5. ^ de Beer, B. K. (1975). Agter die Magalies. Fontainebleau: Postma Publikasies. p. 387. 
  6. ^ de Beer, B. K. (1975). Agter die Magalies. Fontainebleau: Postma Publikasies. p. 405. 
  7. ^ "Limnology of hartbeespoort dam". Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. 1985. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  8. ^ "History". Transvaal Yacht Club. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  9. ^ Allanson BR, Gieskes JMTM. Investigations into the ecology of polluted inland waters in the Transvaal, Part II: An introduction to the limnology of Hartbeespoort Dam with special reference to the effect of industrial and domestic pollution. Hydrobiologia. 1961;18(1–2):77–94.
  10. ^ Harding WR, Thornton JA, Steyn G, Panuska J, Morrison IR. Hartbeespoort Dam Remediation Project (Phase 1) Action Plan Final Report (Volume II). North West Province DACE; 2004. Available from: http://www.dwa.gov.za/harties/
  11. ^ Van Ginkel CE, Silberbauer MJ. Temporal trends in total phosphorus, temperature, oxygen, chlorophyll _a_ and phytoplankton populations in Hartbeespoort Dam and Roodeplaat Dam, South Africa, between 1980 and 2000. African Journal of Aquatic Science 32. 2007;1:63–70.
  12. ^ "HARTBEESPOORT DAM REMEDIATION PROGRAMME". Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  13. ^ "Development of a Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Hartbeespoort Dam is nearing its final stages". South African Government Information. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  14. ^ a b Tempelhoff, Elise (27 December 2012). "Miljoene, maar dam bly nog vuil". Beeld. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Hartbeespoort Dam at Wikimedia Commons