10 Interesting facts about the Vaal River and Vaal Dam
- The Vaal Dam has an 800 kilometres shoreline straddling 3 provinces: Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Free State.
- The proper name for the Vaal River is actually the Vaal River Barrage Reservoir.
- The Barrage is itself a dam and was originally the area in which most of modern day Gauteng (then the Transvaal) water was stored prior to the construction of the Vaal Dam wall at Lake Deneysville in 1938.
- The Barrage comprises 58 km of dammed water, starting 8 km up-stream from the Lethabo Power Station (about 20 km from the Vaal Dam wall) and snaking westward for 50 km past Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark, to reach Loch Vaal, which is often referred to as South Africa’s “inland riviera”, with its string of waterfront properties and prime real estate.
- The Vaal River Barrage is owned by Rand Water and tasked by the Department of Water Affairs to deliver pristine drinking water to some of Gauteng’s major municipalities.
- Most of the land south of the Vaal River, on the side of the Free State Province directly opposite Vereeniging and stretching to the Sasolburg municipal boundary, is owned and mined by Anglo American and mining is expected to continue for at least anther 25 years.
- Getting to the Vaal River Barrage can be complicated if travelling via the suburbs of Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark, as main roads and highways crisscross the river with none tracing the water and few arteries running parallel to the river for any length of time.
This is with the exception of ‘Stokkiesdraai Road’ which runs parallel to the second half of the barrage from the 23km mark near Stonehaven all the way to the Loch.
- To reach the river from Johannesburg requires visitors to travel on the N1 (Bloemfontein Highway) past Grasmere Toll Gate to connect with the R57.
Alternatively facilities along the banks of the river in the Vereeniging area can best be accessed via the R59.
- To help navigation on the river, Rand Water has conveniently marked the kilometer readings from the Vaal Barrage Wall at Loch Vaal, counting up to the 50km mark at the Lethabo intake.
The readings appear as signs with numerals against a yellow background along the southern bank of the river.
- The water police based at the Rand Water Intake II Pumphouse has also been demarcated for reference in the event of emergencies as has the National Sea Rescue Institute base in Deneysville, which represents the only such inland rescue base in SA.
Information supplied by Rand Water Board