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HOME arrow WATER arrow DAMS arrow MPUMALANGA arrow Witbank Dam


Witbank Dam PDF Print E-mail

Witbank Dam lies a couple of kilometers east from the town called Witbank where the dam was established in the year 1971. Yet another totally pointless but annoying name change for this town which is now known as Emalahleni, which in all probability will result in the Dams' name to change too.

So be on the lookout for Emalahleni Dam which would mean - plain old Witbank Dam.

Witbank Dam - Photo Google Earth.

Apart from the local residents and a few other anglers close to the vicinity, Witbank dam has never really stood out as a prime fishing venue. Since this dam is not an old dam, one might wonder why such a young dam received such a bad reputation so quickly. And the answer is rather simple. Surrounded my coal mines working or defunct, exposure to dug up raw elements including the big culprit, sulphur-pyrite had a rather deadly impact on the water quality and surrounding plant life.

There are apparent purification measurements being taken at Witbank surrounding, but we don't know if this water is purified prior to sending it for human consumption or if it is somehow purified and then ends up in Witbank Dam. Although I have read that this purified water is sold to the municipality after purification, I highly doubt the clean water will find itself in the dam again after it has been processed. Thus to my understanding the water is pumped out of Witbank Dam, then purified by the two companies which we will not mention for free (yeah we're spiteful like that) into the purification system and then sold to the municipality, which in turn means, the dam itself and the poor quality polluted water it contains, stays exactly as untreated as it was before this multi-million scheme was introduced. 

This could also mean that since Witbank Dam is a municipal dam, the water could just as easily be coming from stored abandoned mines, then purified and then sent to the dam which would result in the dam getting clean water and hopefully over time systematically recover to its original potential. (We're aiming at the fishing possibility here of course)

The dam involves two rivers, the Olifants River and the Limpopo River to a large extend. It has a maximum holding capacity of 104 000 000 cubic meters.

Fishing at this dam used to be an easy task but this was before 2007 when tons of fish died of the increasing pollution in this dam. One never had to cast very far to catch carp, and there was always decent Barbel up to the task. These days you see the fish from Witbank but none of those fish looks impressive enough to make the angler smile since he or she actually managed to catch something in Witbank dam other than scary types or viruses or disease.

How the Bass managed to survive for so long remains a mystery but you can bet on it that they'll be the next specie to keel over and disappear if this pollution level doesn't improve soon.

  • Carp-, Common, Mirror
  • Mudifish
  • Barbel Sharptooth
  • Bass

While the tourism aspect around this dam seem to advertise as if nothing could possibly be wrong, it does seem to amuse me somewhat. But then I realize just how unfair it is towards these businesses that need tourism to survive yet are done in by their useless government officials in either mismanagement of funds, not being efficient or just plain not doing their jobs like we see on a regular basis now.
While our sole interest remains with the fishing aspect of any body of water, surely if you can't fish in it, chances are you won't be able to drink the water from Witbank dam. Not only do we support any form of conservation when it comes to fish species, one of our main aims is of course to bring the fisherman to the venue and the venue to the fisherman.This of course will extend to any matter that can bring together the parties that might seek or offer a solution to better or treat the water quality at Witbank dam or any other dam in SA for that matter.

We are always open to any suggestions and would love to publish any news from all sources involving Witbank dam. If you have any news or updates about the fishing or water action plans, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.


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