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NC dams at capacity

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DAMS in the Northern Cape have reached full capacity due to recent heavy rains.

The Department of Water and Sanitation said that, according to the latest report that was released on February 1, the Vaal Dam that borders the Free State and Gauteng, had risen to a storage capacity of 78.36 percent with an inflow of 498 cubic metres per second (m3/s) and a release of 17.6 m3/s.

Spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation, Sputnik Ratau, stated that Bloemhof Dam is at 102 percent with a maintained outflow of 101 m3/s.

“Gariep Dam is 119.7 percent full with a combined outflow of 2 660 m3/s while the Vanderkloof Dam, which borders the Free State and Northern Cape provinces, is at 111.07 percent with an inflow of 2 660 m3/s and a combined outflow of 1 794 m3/s.”

He added that due to more rain upstream, water users along the Vaal and Orange Rivers would be impacted downstream.

“The Douglas storage weir had peaked to a high of 136.4 percent yesterday with an outflow of 621 m3/s.

“All water users, including irrigation and livestock farmers, fishing, mining and recreation activities along the Orange and Vaal river systems are advised of possible flooding.”

Ratau urged farmers to remove livestock, water pipes and other working equipment to avoid damage to property.

“Communities have also been warned to be on high alert as roads, bridges, dams and water canals in some parts of the Province and the country are flooded and should be avoided.”

Ratau said the lower Orange River system recorded the following levels at its various gauging stations:

* Flow at Katlani was 2 000 m3/s

* Flow at Prieska was 1 661 m3/s and on the rising limb.

* Flow at Upington was 1 300 m3/s and on recession limb.

* Flow at Blouputs was 1 091 m3/s

A warning of persistent rainfall was issued for Warrenton, Kimberley, Hotazel, Kuruman and Jan Kempdorp until Wednesday evening.

The weather service advised that localised flooding was likely in areas with poor drainage, low lying areas, roads and informal settlements.

It advised motorists to increase their travel time due to reduced visibility, difficult driving conditions and slippery roads.

The South African Weather Service has also issued veld fire warnings for various parts of the Northern Cape where fires may spread quickly and cause damage to property, humans and animals.

A high fire danger index has been detected in Kamiesberg, Garies, Karoo Hoogland, Sutherland, Hantam and Calvinia.

Following the respite from the heat with the rainy weather in the city, temperatures are expected to rise to the low 30 degree celsius mark for the rest of the week with sunny to partly cloudy conditions.