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How it came to be

written by Sjoerd de Boer
4 · 01 · 22

The original dam was built in the early days of Clarens. It fed the old waterworks (remains of which can still be seen downstream) and as the demand for water grew in the eighties the wall of the dam was raised to its present level but no provision was made for a concrete spillway.

When the Highlands Water Scheme was developed they needed dedicated water storage for the tunnel boring machine and thus the Townland Dam was built together with its pump station and weir in the Little Caledon River.

After completion of the tunnel, it was decided that Clarens Town would be better served by the Townlands Dam and the current 1 megalitre waterworks was created.

The use of Townlands and the new waterworks meant that the Kloof Dam was no longer needed for the town’s watersupply. The Kloof Dam was thus left and the waterworks below it was removed.

Years went by and because there was no dedicated spillway and water going into the dam then worked its way down the embankment and caused severe erosion to the wall.

In 2018 the CVC decided to do something about this erosion. First thing was to approach the municipality – they were not interested in doing anything – however, they gave us permission to proceed with the repairs. The CVC then approached Mr Schalk Jacobs, a well-respected local Free State dam designer and we started the process of repairing the wall with the result of the spillway we now have which was able to handle the rains of 2021 and 2022. 

Some Facts

  • Kloof dam has a catchment of about 1 square kilometre;
  • It has a capacity of about 45,000 cubic metres of water storage;
  • The size of the dam makes it just smaller than the requirement for large dams which then need to be registered andinspected annually;
  • The depth of the water near the wall is about 4 metre and it then shallows quickly;
  • The dam is a major tourist attraction for fishing, hiking, swimming and bird watching;
  • It also has been stocked with trout/grass carp over the years; and
  • the spillway was designed for a 7-year flood however, the position of the spillway within the low portion of the wall, makes this dam a very stable structure that should last a long time. 

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