2 NOVEMBER 1933, Colonel Deneys Reitz, Minister of Lands and Irrigation, announces the proposed VaalHarts Project, the biggest conservation and irrigation scheme ever attempted in South Africa.
2 NOVEMBER 1952, Brother McManus celebrates 50th Anniversary of Religious Life with a Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral.
2 NOVEMBER 1952, Cyril Helfrich (117) and Ron Draper (124) score runs against KHS in cricket match.
The Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme
The building work of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme – an idea of Cecil Rhodes’ in 1886 – started in 1934 in the region and by the end of the year had cost £2 million for the 300 settlements. The farm Andalusia (now Jan Kempdorp) was approved for survey as a town (or village) just before World War II.
The Vaalharts Weir was built in the Vaal River, upstream from Warrenton, where water was diverted to the Vaalharts Main Canal, in order to serve the North Canal, Klipdam-Barkly Canal and Taung Canal. The canal system consists of a total of 1,176 km of concrete coated canals which provide irrigation water to a total of 39,820 ha scheduled land, industrial water to six towns and other industrial water users and also domestic and livestock water, for primary use, to various properties.
Irrigation activities as well as storm water drainage on Vaalharts Government Water Scheme and Taung Irrigation Scheme, necessitated the building of multi-purpose drainage canals, in order to drain storm water as well as subsurface drainage water effectively out of the irrigation scheme. To date a total of 314 km of concrete drainage canals have been built for this purpose.
The Ganspan Welfare Settlement was developed under the Vaalharts canal system, with a listed area of 2,989,8 ha. The Vaalharts Agricultural Research Station was also developed with a listed area of 381,2 ha.
By 1963 there were 1250 plots for white farmers and 1550 plots for Black farmers in the scheme, the population then totaling some 29 000 souls.
Information added by Kimberley Info Webmaster, via the Vaalharts Water User Association.
Nearly 80 years after its construction, Vaalharts remains the largest irrigation scheme in South Africa. Lani van Vuuren explores the history of this scheme which dates back at least 130 years. Click to read.
Maintenance of Scheme