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Irrigation Infrastructure: South Africa  

The current area under irrigation in the basin in South Africa at 198 000 ha, uses approximately 10 000 m³ of water per hectare per year (FAO 2004). The irrigation potential, estimated at 131 500 ha using 12 000 m³ of water required per hectare per year, indicates trends of more water being used per hectare than existing requirements.

Irrigation development along the Limpopo within South Africa is estimated at 4 000 ha. Within the four water management areas (WMA) in the Limpopo basin in South Africa, irrigation accounts for the following water requirements within each WMA (FAO 2004):

  • Crocodile (West) and Marico – 35 %
  • Limpopo – 75 %
  • Elephants – 57 %
  • Luvuvhu and Letaba – 75 %

In the Limpopo WMA irrigation occurs throughout and development is evenly distributed. Some of the irrigation is dependent upon small dams or run-of-river which has a low assurance of supply (FAO 2004). Therefore, the irrigated area tends to vary in the Limpopo WMA year by year. In the Levuvuhu & Letaba WMA irrigation is concentrated primarily in the area around the Groot Letaba River

The dams in South Africa used primarily for irrigation are (FAO 2004):

  • Hartebeespoort (186 Mm³) on the Crocodile River
  • Marico (27 Mm³) on the Marico River
  • Mokolo (145 Mm³) on the Mokolo River
  • Blyderivierpoort (55,2 Mm³) on the Mogalakwena River
  • Glen Alpine (20,0 Mm³) and others on the Mogalakwena River
  • Nzhelele (55,3 Mm³) on the Nzhelele River.

These dams are further discussed in Dams and Infrastructure and the interactive component to the right.

Seko Canal, Olifants sub-basin, South Africa.
Source: LIMCOM 2009
( click to enlarge )



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