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
Due to the extensive development in the VRS and Crocodile (West) WMA, which are
supplied from the Upper Vaal WMA, the local surface water resources in all three
the Vaal WMAs have been fully exploited more than three decades ago.
Planning for the future
The Reconciliation Strategy for the Vaal River System was completed in 2009 by
the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and a Strategy Steering Committee (SSC)
was formed in July of the same year to oversee the implementation thereof. The
objectives of the strategy is 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 VRS consists of three of the 19 WMAs in South Africa.
Over decades the water resources of the VRS were augmented to match the growing
water requirements and major inter-basin transfer schemes were developed to
convey water into the system from the high rainfall regions of the upper Thukela
and Usutu rivers as well as from the headwaters of the Orange River in the
highlands of Lesotho.
The VRS supplies water to about 60% of economy and 45% of population – the mines
and industry on the Mpumalanga Highveld, the bulk of Eskom’s coal fired power
stations, Gauteng, the North West and Free State goldfields, Kimberley, small
towns as well as large irrigation schemes. 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
Implementation: Strategy Steering Committee
A Strategy Steering Committee (SSC) was established to take the Reconciliation
Strategy forward as the next step in the management of the Vaal River System.
Membership of the SSC is similar to that of the Project Steering Committees
during the previous phase when the strategy for the Vaal River System was
developed and consists of representatives of agriculture, local authority, water
service providers, mines, energy and industry sectors, national departments,
provincial government and civil society representing a wide variety of
stakeholder groups in the Vaal River System.
The objectives of the SSC are to:
Ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Vaal River System Reconciliation Strategy;
Ensure the implementation and recommendations of the Vaal River System Integrated Water Quality Management Strategy;
Update both Strategies to ensure that both remain relevant; and
Ensure that the Strategies and their recommendations are appropriately communicated.