Motipa Street, where rain is a curse

2014-03-09 14:00

Joburg must invest R116m to ensure it is ready for floods.

Johannesburg needs to immediately invest R116?million if it wants to be floodproof, says the city’s member of the mayoral committee for environment and infrastructure services, Matshidiso Mfikoe.

Roads were wrecked during the more or less constant rain this week, cars were abandoned and homes were flooded, but Mfikoe warns that things will get worse.

A study done by the city indicated that Johannesburg’s rainfall would significantly increase in the next 50 years, and the rainy season would start earlier and end later.

The city expects annual rainfall to have ­increased by 18% by the middle of this century.

At the recent mayoral climate change indaba in Sandton, Mfikoe said Johannesburg’s rainfall had dramatically increased in the past three years.

“For us as a city, we are definitely experiencing more violent rainstorms,” she said.

“We need to be ready. We need to put those early warning systems in place. And that costs money.”

City of Johannesburg spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said that based on the city’s emergency services rainfall data, the downpours were about average – they just came a little later than usual this year.

The heavy rain with damaging effects normally occurs ­between December and February, not in March, he said.

In areas like Orlando West Extension, Soweto, residents ­living on flood lines spend days trying to get water out of their homes.

Evelyn Stete (82), her daughter and niece awoke on Wednesday to find their home flooding. Her kitchen cabinets are slowly caving in.

Stete’s neighbour Themba Mabale (54) is so disheartened by annual flooding that he said he didn’t bother to work on his garden any more and didn’t “have the energy” to repair the damage.

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