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 ML (2,121,000 acre·ft)[1]
Catchment area 195 km2 (75 sq mi)
Surface area 69.37 km2 (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 cubic metres (510,000 acre·ft) 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 a 69-metre (226 ft) high earthfill embankment 2,290 metres (7,510 ft) long with no spillway. It was subsequently raised in 1980 to its current height of 93 metres (305 ft) with a crest length of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft) and a full supply capacity of 2,656 million cubic metres (2,153,000 acre·ft). 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 (2,121.60 acre·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 cubic metres (600×10^6 cu ft) 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.[citation needed] The dam mainly serves for domestic and industrial use and its hazard potential has been ranked high (3).[clarification needed]

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]

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