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Area of supply

The study area comprises the water resources of the Vaal River System (VRS) which includes the catchments of the Upper, Middle and the Lower Vaal Water Management Areas (WMAs) – from Kuruman in the west to Ermelo in the east and Johannesburg in the north to the Lesotho border in the south. Other sub-systems also form part of the Integrated Vaal River System.

Sources of water

The resources of the Vaal River already exceeded its potential in the early 1970’s and water had to be transferred from the Tugela via the Tugela-Vaal Pump Storage Scheme.

Planning for the future

The Department of Water and Sanitation commissioned a three-year study (2018 – 2020) for the continuation of the Integrated Vaal River System Reconciliation Strategy Study – Phase 2. The initial strategy for the Vaal River System was developed in 2009 with the main objective to reconcile the current and future water requirements with the available water by implementing appropriate interventions to increase the available water, conserve water through conservation and demand management measures as well as improve the water quality in the river systems. The strategy developed in 2009 has been implemented, monitored and updated over the 2010-2015 period to ensure that it remains relevant under prevailing conditions.

This study is part of an on-going process to ensure the relevance of management of the Integrated Vaal River System to confirm sufficient water availability. The DWS works closely with the Strategy Steering Committee (SSC) to implement the strategy, maintain its relevance and to continue to ensure efficient planning.

The Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) is the most important bulk water supply system in the country, supplying water to 46% of the country’s economy and 33% of the population.

The system covers the whole of Gauteng, but also the important areas in Mpumalanga (mines and industries (Sasol’s coal to liquid) and bulk of Eskom’s coal fired power stations), North West and Free State Gold Fields (supplied by Midvaal Water and Sedibeng Water respectively), Northern Cape (Kimberley and the mines and towns from the Vaal Gamagara Transfer Scheme), large irrigation schemes of which Vaalharts is the biggest in the country, and investigations have been done to support the important developments near Lephalale (Eskom and Sasol) in Limpopo in future if necessary. There are complex issues impacting on the VRS, because it is a dynamic area with a huge growth in water requirements. All users in the area contribute to the effluent and the complex water quality issues.

Implementation: Strategy Steering Committee

SSC was established to guide the continuation and implementation of the Reconciliation Strategy. The membership of the previously formed SSC will form the basis to ensure a representative SSC consisting of various sectors in the study area. The purpose of the SSC would be to provide guidance in the progressive maintenance and implementation of the Reconciliation Strategy. With the announcement of the study, stakeholders will be requested to nominate members for the SSC

 It is envisaged that two meetings will be held, at six monthly intervals, each year:

    Meeting 1
  • To consider / review progress with implementation
  • To consider implications from the Annual Operations System Analysis
  • To update the Vaal River Reconciliation Strategy
  • To identify further investigative work to be done
  • To deal with communication (media release)
    Meeting 2
  • To consider / review progress with implementation
  • To consider findings of investigations identified earlier
  • To deal with communications (media release and newsletter)