Vaal Triangle History


1889 - 1902


Klip Power Station

William Stow


Vaal Dam

Vereeniging Estates

1939 - 1945

Peace Negotiations




Estate and Exploration Company was founded.  Its source of supply was the natural springs that flowed down the hills. In a short time, the existing surface water supplies were found to be inadequate and boreholes were sunk on the farm Zwartkoppjes.


In 1895, there was a great drought and the water company were unable to meet the water demands which were at that time almost 900 000 gallons per day. Water was supplied to the higher areas of Johannesburg by mule cart at two shillings and six pence a bucket. A commision was appointed to investigate sources of water and in 1899 the Zuurbekom pumping station began supplying water to Johannesburg. Today, this building stands unaltered and although rarely used, can still supply over 20 Ml/day of water.


In 1903, the Rand Water Board (now Rand Water) came into being. The company was given powers for the exploitation of water, as well as the raising and repayment of loans and the setting of tariffs for the sale of water. It was also a policy decision that there would be a fixed rate per thousand gallons, irrespective of the point from which the supply was drawn and that the rate for water was not to yield any profit but should be calculated to cover working costs. By 1905, Rand Water was supplying 2 million gallons of water per day. Further boreholes were sunk in the Klip River valley on the Zwartkopjes farm and by 1910, the quantity of water had increased to 10 million gallons per day. Even this was found to be inadequate and alternative sources of water supply for the mines were investigated.

Ever since man took to farming many thousands of years ago, he has always settled in the vicinity of water. Vereeniging was no exception as the discovery of coal on the banks of the Vaal River in 1878 led to the founding and growth of the industrial city and the development of the surrounding area. The area around the Vaal River was dry veld and life was centered around the collieries on the banks of the river.

Vereeniging’s water supply was drawn from boreholes, with the main source of water (prior to the Boer War) being drawn from a borehole which was situated at the corner of Voortrekker Street and Victoria Avenue. African water peddlars filled barrels from this borehole and hauled it on ox-drawn sleds from which they sold the water to residents for up to six pence a tin. Health aspects due to water use were almost non-existent. Typhoid was endemic and the death rate from enteric fever was exceptionally high. At the end of the Boer War, a borehole was sunk near to the present Riviera on Vaal hotel and the water pumped to a tower in Market Square from where it was reticulated throughout the village.


Forty miles to the north of the river, a gold reef was discovered in 1886 on the ‘Witwatersrand’ (named the Ridge of White Waters because of the small, crystal clear streams that flowed down the hills). As there was no main river flowing through the area, the supply to the mines soon dwindled. In December 1887, the government of the South African Republic granted the Siveright Concession which called for a company to supply water to the prospectors. The following year, the Johannesburg Waterworks

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