Hartbeespoort Dam

Hartbeespoort Dam also known as Harties (officially the Hartbeespoort Dam Reservoir) is a dam situated in the North West Province of South Africa Coordinates: 25°44′51″S 27°52′1″E / 25.7475°S 27.86694°E / -25.7475; 27.86694. It lies in a valley to the south of the Magaliesberg mountain range and north of the Witwatersberg mountain range, about 35 kilometres west of Pretoria. The name of the dam means "pass of the hartbees" (a species of antelope) in Afrikaans. The dam was originally designed for irrigation which is currently its primary use.

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


History

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 dam was completed in 1923. Hartbeespoort Dam first overflowed the dam wall in March 1925.

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

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.

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

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 practised on the dam. The Transvaal Yacht Club has been operating at the dam since its construction in 1923.

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


Water quality

Hartbeespoort Dam has been renowned for its poor water quality since the mid twentieth century . 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 . The extreme level of eutrophication is evident in the excessive growth of microscopic algae and cyanobacteria, and macrophytes such as water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) . The South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry launched the Harties metsi a me (English: Harties, My Water) programme to try to find solutions to the water quality problems.