Vaal Dam sluice gates to be closed on Monday

2011-01-08 07:34

The Water Affairs Department plans to begin closing sluice gates at the overflowing Vaal Dam on Monday.

“There are still only 17 sluice gates open and the plan is to start closing those on Monday,” said spokesperson Linda Page.

“The dam is currently 110% full and still rising, a situation similar to the 1996 floods.”

At the Vaal Barrage, 31 of the 36 sluice gates were open and remaining gates were expected to stay closed.

Communities living near overflowing dams were cautioned to take care.

A flood warning was issued to communities residing downstream of the Vaal Dam and the other three major dams – Bloemhof, Gariep and Vanderkloof.

The capacity of the Bloemhof Dam dropped to 92% on Friday and the inflow was 1 600 cubic metres per second, which was expected to increase to 3 800 cubic metres per second by Monday.

The Gariep Dam was at 116% and the outflow of 2 200 cubic metres per second was expected to increase to 2 600 cubic metres per second by Sunday.

The Vanderkloof Dam is at 113%.

Water Affairs minister Edna Molewa visited the Qedusizi Dam in Ladysmith yesterday.

She wanted to assess the impact on the dam and the area of Klip River, which was flooded over the weekend.

Molewa also wanted to check on the impact of flood control measures put in place by the department.

Hundreds of people were displaced across the country after rain damaged property, uprooted trees, marooned farms, and destroyed crops and shacks.

Earlier, police reported that 17 people had died in flooding and thunderstorms in the Eastern Cape.

Among them, six were children, said Mthata police spokesman Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela.

“The figure is from December 21 to January 6.”

It included four people who were killed by lightning in Mamolweni at the weekend.

“You see, all the deaths were related to adverse weather conditions so that’s how we came to this figure,” he said.

The deceased were from Mthatha, Lusikisiki, Port St John, Libode and Mount Frere.

In KwaZulu-Natal, seven people died after being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm in Eshowe on Sunday.

Five others were killed in floods that hit the province this week.

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