“The Touw River was breached on Wednesday at 2.18m to prevent flooding,” SANParks said in a statement.
Wilderness section senior ranger for the Garden Route National Park, Nellie Grootendorst, said on Wednesday morning a weather warning from the Eden district municipality had predicted 50mm of rain for Tuesday and Wednesday.
“On Wednesday morning, we noticed that rainfall was around the 50mm mark,” said Grootendorst.
“This prompted our team of rangers to keep checking the measuring plate every 30 minutes.”
When it reached the two metre mark around 12.45pm, the water was pushed over the sandbar and ran over to the sea.
“If the water had failed to do this [by itself], SANParks was ready to use the bulldozer,” Grootendorst said.
Artificial breaching of the sandbars at the Touw and Swart River estuary mouths was done primarily to prevent flooding of neighbouring properties along the river.
The open/closed conditions of the estuary were often cited as one of several environmental factors influencing the abundance of marine fish in the estuaries.
The set standards for breaching was two metres above mean sea level for Swartvlei, and between 2.1m and 2.4m for the Touw River.
The Wilderness system was fed by three rivers, being the Touw River, the Duiwe River, and Langvlei Spruit.