Expect a lot more wet

2017-02-15 10:15
Creason Pillay, owner of Tagz Electrical in Garrick Street, had to splash through a deep pool to get to his business after blocked drains flooded the entrance to the premises since Sunday.

Creason Pillay, owner of Tagz Electrical in Garrick Street, had to splash through a deep pool to get to his business after blocked drains flooded the entrance to the premises since Sunday. (Ian Carbutt)

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With a tropical cyclone headed for South Africa, Pietermaritzburg residents have raised their concerns about the city’s drainage system after storms on Sunday and Monday left several areas flooded.

The SA Weather Service reported yesterday that a tropical cyclone called Dineo has formed in the Mozambique region and was headed for South Africa in the next two days.

SA Weather Service said yesterday that scattered thundershowers were expected to develop over the central, south-eastern and eastern parts, with heavier showers possible over the south-eastern parts of Mpumalanga and northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal from Wednesday.

Heavy storms have hit KZN this past week, causing disasters in various areas.

Although no serious damage was caused in the city, many Pietermaritzburg areas were left without electricity, with about 10 areas in Msunduzi without power on Saturday and Sunday.

The storm on Monday night left flooded roads and mud pools all over the city on Tuesday.

Residents from different areas in Pietermaritzburg voiced their concerns to The Witness after the water did not drain away. Estelle Grobbelaar, a Garrick Street resident, said constant flooding on the street has posed a serious health hazard for her.

“The rainwater is not subsiding and our toilets cannot flush as the water backs up into the house. Human waste is floating openly in the street,” said Grobbelaar.

She said the problem has been persistent since Sunday and she has received no help from the municipality after she laid numerous complaints.

Creason Pillay, who owns Tagz on Greyling Street, had to splash through a deep pool to access his business yesterday after water overflowed from a nearby blocked drain.

He said the water flowed inside his business, damaging his gate motor and some appliances inside his shop.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality was working on the city’s drainage system.

“We are doing maintenance by cleaning our drainage system.

“Where there is an escalating problem it must be reported to the municipality. In cases where there is flooding we do have a team that deals with that 24 hours a day,” said Mafumbatha. There is sufficient funding for the team. The Msunduzi Municipality’s 2016/2017 disaster management plan detailed the municipality’s plans towards risk assessment, risk reduction, disaster response and recovery as well as information management and recovery.

In terms of floods, the plan identified flood-prone areas within the municipality and allocated budgets towards risk reduction programme. Lower Sinkwazi Road has an allocated budget of R1 220 000 for 2016/17, while R2 500 000 was budgeted for the Grimthorpe Road bridge and R1 000 000 for the canalisation of streams in Northdale.

Amid all the downpours, Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder warned the rain did not fall in the catchment areas and dam levels were still too low to change the city’s drought crisis.

“The dams’ water levels are still not sufficient to meet the city’s needs. Albert Falls specifically is still in a critical condition,” said Harichunder. Midmar Dam stood at 61,61% full and Albert Falls Dam was at 26,19% capacity yesterday, the water utility reported.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  typhoon

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