Skip to Content

Waterberg

Facts
In Numbers

Located in Limpopo, this water source area is an important regional water source in a relatively dry area. The Limpopo River flows from this water source area. It supplies water to a number of towns. No major urban centres are downstream.

Size: 83 961 ha

The Waterberg water source area is made up of two areas which total 83 961 hectares.

Main Rivers

The Mokolo, Lephalala and Mokgalakwena rivers flow from this water source area. These rivers flow northwestwards to their confluence with the Limpopo River. This forms the boundary between Botswana and South Africa.

Did You Know?

  • The Waterberg supplies water for the Medupi power station. Additional water for the power station is transferred from the Crocodile River in Gauteng.
  • Existing coal fields are situated to the north of the Waterberg. Consequently, areas in the Waterberg water source area have been identified for future coal mining. This would have severe and cumulative impacts on the health of this water source area.
  • This water source area supplies several towns with water.
  • The water source area is important for sustaining downstream floodplain wetlands.

Threats

Land Use (in %)

  • Mining 0.01%
  • Wetlands 0.33%
  • Urban 0.06%
  • Cultivation (irrigated) 1.35%
  • Waterbodies 0.18%
  • Plantation/Woodlot 0.07%
  • Cultivation (dryland) 6.24%
  • Natural 91.7%

4% Protected Areas

Only 4% of this water source area is under formal protection. This includes a section of the Marakele National Park as well as private nature reserves and game farms. However, the Waterberg is an important node for the Limpopo Conservation Plan due to the presence of critical biodiversity areas and river ecosystems that are vital biodiversity corridors.

  • 1

Threat Status

Approximately 91.75% of this water source area is in natural condition. Nevertheless, a large portion of natural rangeland vegetation has been degraded by overgrazing and bush encroachment.

LEGAL MECHANISMS TO RESTRICT MINING AND ASSOCIATED IMPACTS

The Waterberg water source area is almost entirely in natural condition, with limited cultivation, plantations and urban development. Nevertheless, future coal mining may have considerable environmental and socio-economic impacts on the area. What legal mechanism may potentially restrict or prohibit prospecting and mining activities in a specified region?

Interactive Map

South Africa has 22 water source areas spread across five provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo). The total size of our water source areas is 12.32 million hectares. A number of these areas extend and are shared with Lesotho and Swaziland; approximately 1.91 million hectares in Lesotho and 0.93 million hectares in Swaziland.

The total volume of water supplied by these areas per year is approximately 2 457 million cubic metres. The greatest volume of recharge is generated by the Southern Drakensberg, followed by the Eastern Cape Drakensberg and the Boland Mountains.