oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - The Van Stadens Weir and Dam : a functioning historic landmark

Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



From the date of its founding in 1820 Port Elizabeth has suffered from the lack of a reliable water supply. For forty years after the British settlers landed the little port struggled with wells, springs and other sources which were inevitably insufficient, but despite the efforts of officials and entrepreneurs, there was no sign of a permanent solution. By 1862 the Town Council was desperate and offered prizes for the best proposals for the supply of potable water to the town. The second prize of fifty guineas was won by Robert Pinchin, an engineer and surveyor, who believed that it would be possible to bring water to the town from the upper reaches of the Van Stadens River through the steep and formidable Van Stadens gorge. But the Council was unimpressed; they felt that the scheme could not be taken seriously as it would be too expensive and too difficult to construct.

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