The water level at the Riverton low bridge is rising due to dams in the Northern Cape that are spilling over.
THE WATER level at the Riverton low bridge is rising due to dams in the Northern Cape that are spilling over.
The Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation said that according to the latest report the water supply storage capacity of the Northern Cape was standing at 104.5 percent, as of February 10.
Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said that of the two largest rivers passing through the Northern Cape, the Orange River was at 113.1 percent and the Vaal River was at 103.9 percent above their storage capacity.
“The Bloemhof Dam is at 110 percent and is continuing to spill. The Vanderkloof Dam, which borders the Free State and the Northern Cape, is at 109.9 percent full and spilling at 1,207 cubic metres per second, with a further 374 cubic metres per second going through the Eskom turbines to generate additional electricity.
“Water outflows from Vanderkloof – the second biggest dam in the country – have a significant impact on the lower parts of the Orange River.
“The Marksdrift gauging weir, which is just before the Douglas confluence (where the Vaal merges into one with the Orange River), is recording a flow of 1,876 cubic metres per second. Katlani, just below the confluence, is flowing at 2,518 cubic metres per second. Prieska is at 2,727 cubic metres per second and in Upington the flow is at 2,816 cubic metres per second. The Blouputs, close to Augrabies, is flowing at 2,131 cubic metres per second.”
Ratau reminded the public that South Africa was ranked the 30th driest water-scarce country in the world.
“The Department of Water and Sanitation therefore urges all water users, including agriculture, farming, mining, industry and all residents, to continue to use water sparingly.
“Due to localised flooding in some areas, residents are urged to stay clear of rivers, dams, islands and flowing water. Motorists are also warned not to attempt to cross flooded roads,” Ratau added.
Video: Danie van der Lith
The Department of Water and Sanitation on Tuesday closed a third sluice gate at the Vaal Dam following a decision taken by the Vaal Orange River System management committee due to concerns over extreme flooding.
Ratau explained that the opening of five gates last week to release water from the Vaal Dam was necessitated by the rapid filling of the dam on account of heavy river flows from the upper Vaal.
“On Monday, two of the sluice gates were closed. The decision to close the third gate was informed by the rate at which the water in the dam was decreasing to allow for inflows.
“Presently, the levels of the dam are gradually falling as shown by the discharge of 401.90 cubic metres per second and an inflow of 243.39 cubic metres per second.”
Ratau indicated that the dam water level was now hovering at 102.9 percent.
Video: Danie van der Lith
Ratau said two sluice gates would remain open until the desired results had been achieved. “The decision to close them would depend on the ongoing analysis and monitoring of the dam. The rate at which we would like to see the dam is when it has been reduced to a stage where inflows are able to be accommodated.”
He reiterated that by opening the sluice gates, the department sought to protect infrastructure and also ensure that the dam was performing at its optimal level.