Sterkfontein Dam

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Sterkfontein Dam
South Africa-Sterkfontein Dam-01.jpg
Sterkfontein Dam Reservoir seen from the R74
Sterkfontein Dam is located in South Africa
Sterkfontein Dam
Location of Sterkfontein Dam
Official name Sterkfontein Dam
Location Free State
Coordinates 28°26′54″S 29°01′22″E / 28.4484°S 29.0228°E / -28.4484; 29.0228Coordinates: 28°26′54″S 29°01′22″E / 28.4484°S 29.0228°E / -28.4484; 29.0228
Opening date 1980 (renovated 1986)[1]
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Earth fill dam
Impounds Nuwejaarspruit[1]
Height 97 metres (320 ft)[1]
Length 3,060 metres (3,350 yd)[1]
Creates Sterkfontein Dam Reservoir
Total capacity 2,616,000 megalitres (2,616 hm3)[1]
Catchment area 195 km2
Surface area 69.37 square kilometres (26.78 sq mi)[1]

The Sterkfontein Dam, located just outside the town of Harrismith, in the Free State, province of South Africa, is part of the Tugela-Vaal Water Project, and located on the Nuwejaarspruit, a tributary of the Wilge River in the upper catchment area of the Vaal River.[2]


The dam receives its water via the Tugela-Vaal Project which is a pumped-storage scheme involving the net transfer of up to 630 million m3 of water from KwaZulu-Natal. This is stored in the Sterkfontein Dam and released to the Vaal Dam via the Wilge River when needed. The Sterkfontein Dam is a highly effective reservoir, since it has the depth to store a large amount of water, with very little loss to evaporation. The Vaal Dam lake (reservoir) by comparison has a large surface area and is relatively shallow, which results in a higher rate of evaporation. The Sterkfontein Dam was originally commissioned in 1977 and comprised 69 m high earthfill embankment 2 290 m long with no spillway. It was subsequently raised in 1980 to its current height of 93 m with a crest length of 3 060 m and a full supply capacity of 2 656 million m3. At full supply, it has a surface area of no more than 70 km2. The extended dam was commissioned in 1980, and has a capacity of 2,616,950 cubic metres (92,417,000 cu ft), with a surface area of only 67.26 square kilometres (25.97 sq mi), the dam wall is 93 metres (305 ft) high. The dam wall contains 17 million m3 of material making it the largest dam wall in South Africa with regard to volume, while the reservoir formed by the dam is the third largest in the country. The dam mainly serves for domestic and industrial use and its hazard potential has been ranked high (3).

The Driekloof Dam next to it, is regarded as a separated dam and reservoir, and is not included in the above figures.

Protected areas[edit]

The Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve is a protected area located by the dam.[3]

Photo gallery[edit]

(Click to enlarge)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "STERKFONTEIN DAM". Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  2. ^ Upper Vaal WMA 8
  3. ^ Free State Tourism - Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve

External links[edit]

External images
The weir separating the Driekloof Dam reservoir from the Sterkfontein Dam reservoir. at Rand Water