Harman Patil

Welbedacht Dam

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Official name  Welbedacht Dam
Impounds  Caledon River
Height  32 m
Location  Free State, South Africa
Total capacity  10 330 000 m3
Type of dam  concrete gravity
Length  230 m
Impound  Caledon River
Opening date  1973
Catchment area  15 270 km2
Welbedacht Dam wwwdwafgovzaorangeimagesweb105ljpg
Operator(s)  Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Creates  Welbedacht Dam Reservoir
Similar  Vanderkloof Dam, Erfenis Dam, Kalkfontein Dam, Spitskop Dam, Bloemhof Dam

Welbedacht Dam is a concrete-gravity type dam situated in South Africa, and was established in 1973. Bloemfontein is the sixth largest city in South Africa with a population of approximately 300 000. It is situated in the Modder River catchment which has insufficient water resources to meet the growing water requirements. The water supply to Bloemfontein is therefore augmented from the adjacent Caledon River by means of the Caledon - Modder River Government Water Scheme (CMRGWS).

Map of Welbedacht Dam, South Africa

It was originally envisaged that Bloemfontein would receive Orange River water from Vanderkloof Dam and the outlet works for the transfer scheme still exist at the dam wall. For various reasons, however, it was decided to construct a smaller scheme on the Caledon River which could be implemented before completion of the Vanderkloof Dam. The Welbedacht Dam on the Caledon River was constructed as the main storage element of the CMRGWS and water is abstracted from this dam for transfer to Bloemfontein and various smaller users along the way.

The Welbedacht Dam is a concrete barrage-type dam on the Caledon River which was designed and constructed by the Department of Water Affairs. The dam has a catchment area of some 15 245 km² with a natural Mean Annual Runoff (MAR) of approximately 1210 million m³/a (1920 to 1987) and was completed in 1973. Its purpose was to supply water to the city of Bloemfontein via the 115 km long Caledon-Bloemfontein pipeline which has a capacity of ~1.157 m³/s. Due to the high sediment concentration in the water, the transfer from Welbedacht Dam is first purified at the Welbedacht Purification Plant which is located just downstream of the Dam. The purification plant has a capacity of 1.68 m³/s. The hazard potential of the dam has been ranked high (3).

Due to siltation, the storage capacity of the Welbedacht Dam reduced rapidly from the original 115 million m³ to approximately 16 million m³ during the twenty years since completion. This reduction in storage created problems in meeting the Bloemfontein demand at an acceptable level of reliability and as a result, the 50 m high Knellpoort Dam was completed in 1988. It was the first arch gravity Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) dam in the world and comprises almost 64 600 m³ rollcrete and 14 200 m³ concrete with a gross storage capacity of 137 million m³.

References

Welbedacht Dam Wikipedia


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