What is the Lethabo Weir in the Vaal River?

Very few members of the public have ever actually been at the Lethabo Weir in the Vaal River. Attached is a picture taken at the weir,​ which is situated​ ​55 km upstream from the Barrage wall​ and close to ​Escom’s​ Lethabo power station​.

Lethabo wier

The weir is a wall protruding just above the surface of the Vaal ​R​iver​, preventing ​motor ​boats from navigating over it. The wall was built right on the river bed up to the surface of the water about 40 odd years ago. The height of this wall was adjusted with half a meter about 10 years ago.

Lethabo wier photo 1

The purpose? Two p​ump houses​ belonging to Rand Water can be seen in this picture. These two ​pump ​stations are ​extracting​ clean water from above the weir as opposed to dirtier water on the other side of the wall. Apparently ​the ​water closer to the Vaal Dam is of a higher quality for Rand Water’s purposes. Rand Water is therefore taking water for drinking purposes from the Vaal River before it mixes with more polluted water coming down the Suikerbos and Klip Rivers lower down.

The weir is therefore​,​ in actual fact​,​ a divide between clean and dirtier water.

For more information on the differences between the two sides of the river, have a look at this blog post:

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