Land and Resources, Rivers and Lakes
Senqu, Vaal Dam, huge landslide, Gariep Dam, Botswana border
The chief rivers are the Orange, Vaal, and Limpopo. The Orange is the longest, stretching about 2,100 km (about 1,300 mi). It rises in Lesotho, where it is called the Senqu, and flows northwestward to the Atlantic, forming the boundary with Namibia along the riverís westernmost section. The Vaal rises in the northeast, near Swaziland, and flows southwestward to its confluence with the Orange. The Limpopo rises further north, flowing northeastward to the Botswana border and then eastward along the Botswana and Zimbabwe borders until it enters Mozambique, where it empties into the Indian Ocean. Many shorter rivers flow south to the Indian Ocean, including the Sondags, Great Fish, and Kei in the Eastern Cape, and the Thukela (Tugela) in KwaZulu-Natal.
Most of South Africaís rivers are irregular in flow and are dry during much of the year. Consequently, they are of little use for navigation or hydroelectric power, but of some use for irrigation and water supply. The Orange River Project, begun in 1962, transfers water from the Orange River to the Great Fish and Sondags river basins. In the late 1970s, water began to be pumped from the Thukela to the Vaal to meet the growing needs of the Witwatersrand industrial region. This is supplemented by the major Lesotho Highlands Water Project, begun in 1986, which diverts water from the Senqu and other rivers. With the exception of Fundudzi Lake, which was formed by a huge landslide in the northeastern Soutpansberg Range, South Africaís only notable lakes are artificial, and include those created by the Vaal Dam and Gariep Dam on the Orange River.
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