Original Research

The Vaal River Barrage, South Africa’s hardest working water way: an historical contemplation·

Johann Tempelhoff, Victor Munik, Morne Viljoen
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 3, No 1 | a322 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v3i1.322 | © 2007 Johann Tempelhoff, Victor Munik, Morne Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 March 2016 | Published: 11 April 2007

About the author(s)

Johann Tempelhoff, North-West University, South Africa
Victor Munik, Independent researcher, South Africa
Morne Viljoen, Legal advisor for Mittal Steel, South Africa

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South Africa’s Vaal River is the country’s hardest working rivers. It has been instrumental in securing valuable water supplies in the development of the country’s economic hub – the Gauteng Province. Since the mid-twentieth century there have been increasing indications of water pollution threatening the storage facility of the Vaal River Barrage, built by the water utility, Rand Water, at the start of the twentieth century. Currently, as a result of a variety of factors, untreated wastewater is posing a severe environmental threat in the Vaal River Barrage Catchment area. In the article attention is given to the origins of pollution and recent events that had the effect of mobilising grassroots anger in civil society with the state of affairs. The article forms part of a transdisciplinary research project that is currently conducted at North-West University’s Vaal Triangle campus in Vanderbijlpark.


Vaal River Barrage, Rand Water, water pollution, wastewater treatment, river catchment forums, industrial development, water infrastructure, water management


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