Water and Sanitation on flooding in Western Cape catchments
The National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) wishes to provide an advisory regarding floods in some catchments in the Western Cape. As of Saturday, 4 December 2021, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a revised Impact Based Warning for Severe Thunderstorms.
On Sunday 05 December 2021 the Garden Route District Municipality experienced periods of severe rainfall as a result of the current Cut off Low persisting over the area. Rainfall figures up to +100mm were received and measured at South Africa Weather Service (SAWS) sites in the region.
According to DWS Western Cape Acting Provincial Head, Ms. Ntombizanele Bila-Mupariwa, this is the second instalment of flooding in less than a month. “A fortnight ago, the Southern Cape experienced flooding, which resulted in the evacuation of people in Thembalethu, Skaapkop Valley and Pacaltsdorp and other areas”.
Furthermore, Bila-Mupariwa states that while heavy rains are welcome to boost water availability, people need to be reminded that water can be dangerous with the potential for death at times. The following is the update on the flooding situation:
- On 05 December, the Meiringspoort in De Rust area had to be closed due to a burst in the Klaarstoom catchment leading to the river being in flood and this has since been re-opened
- A vehicle and a truck got stuck in the port after not adhering to road closure signs. Fortunately, these people could be assisted.
- The port will remain closed for the remainder of today as more rain is predicted for the catchment later today. In addition, the Swartberg Pass also had to be closed due to damages to the roads on the Central Karoo side of the pass.
- All the major coastal dams were already full as a result of the recent high rainfall event of 22 November 2021 and due to the significant rainfall received since yesterday, all of them are increasing and spilling.
- No immediate loss of life reported to–day
- The Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) and sector Departments are going to all the affected municipalities in the Garden Route District Municipality to verify the flood damages from 07 -10th December 2021.
Meanwhile the hydrological report of 06 December 2021 indicates an improvement of the Gouritz River Catchment System that covers the Central Karoo, the Little Karoo and the coastal belt of the Southern Cape. The combined dams’ average of Gouritz River Catchment System stands at 34,66 compared to 31,46% the same time last week.
The Olifants/Doorn River Catchment in West Coast is edging towards 100% standing at 98% a significant yield as compared to 89% same time last year. The only dams that have recorded increases of more than 5% this week are Bulshoek, Buffelags, and Gamkapoort. Theewaterskloof Dam, the largest dam in the Western Cape, is stable at 98.8%.
As the floods are intensifying DWS has this advisory below for the members of the public.
- Taking precautions when crossing especially low-lying bridges and other water systems is advised as there may be localized flooding.
- Public is advised not to conduct any recreational activities near dams, streams, etc. while there is flooding.
- Avoid parking cars under or near trees due to the danger of debris.
The DWS and other sector departments will monitor the situation and provide constant updates via multiple media platforms.
“Water is Life, Sanitation is Dignity”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Water and Sanitation, Republic of South Africa.