The department of water and sanitation has warned communities living near the floodplains of the Vaal and Bloemhof dam in the North West to quickly move away from the area to avoid an imminent flood disaster.
Speaking on Thursday on the rise of dam’s level caused by steady rainfall in the province over the past two days, the water department said projections by hydrologists are that are Vaal and Bloemhof Dam are growing beyond control.
Bloemhof would reach 100% capacity by Saturday and that eight sluice gates would be opened to avoid the dam from bursting‚ while the Vaal Dam is expected to open two sluice gates on Sunday.
“The department would like to warn all communities that live on the floodplains of the two dams (Vaal and Bloemhof Dam) to move as soon as possible as they would be exposed to possible flooding‚” the department said on Thursday, while warning communities around the dams to be vigilant‚ to avoid the same life-threatening flash floods experienced near the Augrabies Falls in the Northern Cape this week.
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South Africa has in the past three weeks experienced torrential rains due to the ex-cyclone Tropical Dineo in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Mpumalanga and Limpopo. When the storm was over, it was followed by more torrential rains that were caused by tropical conditions that have their origins in the equator.
The water department in the province said that all the dams in the North West‚ except Molatedi and Klein Marico dams‚ is almost exceeding its full had reached full capacity.
“The department is closely monitoring Mearns Dam in KwaZulu-Natal whose level has zoomed to an astounding 121.83%. No one has died as a result of the water level of the dam but the department‚ together with the Provincial Disaster Management Committee have warned people living on the dam’s catchment to relocate immediately‚” the department said.
The department also gave an update on dam levels across the country‚ which included the following for KwaZulu-Natal: Albert Falls – 29.36%‚ Inanda – 63.59%‚ Mearns – 121.83%‚ Midmar – 67.45%‚ Nagel – 87.45%‚ and Springrove – 74.55%.
It also gave updates on other dam levels in the North West: Molatedi Dam (Groot Marico River) 50%‚ Hartbeespoort Dam 100% (gates opened) Roodekoppies Dam 106%‚ all 8 gates open‚ and other dams: Gariep Dam measured 71.8%‚ Bloemhof Dam 64.5% and Grootdraai Dam 102% (gates opened).
The City of Joburg earlier released a statement warning that certain parts of Johannesburg are experiencing isolated floods in the low-lying areas. Some of the roads affected included Witkoppen Road in Paulshof, Roosevelt Road in Alexandra and the low level bridge on River Road in Bryanston.
The heavy rains were also expected in central and eastern parts of the North-West province, coastal and western parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the north-eastern parts of the Free State, and Highveld areas of Mpumalanga.
The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) has however, embarked on the rehabilitation‚ reconstruction and repairs of six bridges across the city‚ following heavy rainfall and flash flooding in early January 2017. The affected bridges are Belgrave‚ Joe Nhlanhla‚ Cork Avenue‚ Bridge Road‚ Spring Road and 432 Modderfontein Road.