Alex Japho Matala
3 minute read
11 Feb 2021
8:15 am

Govt steps in to help avert potential flood damage in Limpopo

Alex Japho Matala

SA Weather Service forecasts more heavy rain in the province.

A view of the Cascades Waterfall in the Nelspruit Botanical Gardens that has seen a surge in water coming down the falls after recent heavy rains from the Cyclone Eloise that made landfall in Mozambique, 27 January 2021, Limpopo. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Predictions by the South African Weather Service for more rain in Limpopo has forced the national department of water and sanitation to put contingency plans in place to avert flood damage in the province.

The department said it had crafted a plan to help areas affected by floods.

The bold stand by the department follows an announcement by the weather service predicting heavy rain in Limpopo in the coming days.

In light of this, the department told residents that “come rain of shine”, it was well prepared and ready to deal with any eventuality.

“Our flood preparedness plan that is aimed at ensuring the safety of individuals and structures, as well as minimising damages due to high water levels,” said departmental spokesman, Sputnik Ratau on Wednesday.

He said the department was working closely with municipalities and other departments to assist affected areas in the province, especially in the Mopani and Vhembe districts, as they were high rainfall areas.

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Ratau said the department was continuously monitoring the flow of water in dams and rivers, as well as predicting floods and overflowing to minimise damages that might be caused.

Reports by the department show that dam water storage capacity in Limpopo was sitting at 74.6% this week.

The Polokwane Water Supply Systems increased to 78.7% of capacity in the past few days from 74.0% last week.

Most dams in the province are sitting at satisfactory levels and others are continuing to improve daily.

Ebenezer and Tzaneen dams in Groot Letaba, which supplies majority of the communities and businesses around
Polokwane, both increased capacity drastically compared to last year around this period.

Ebenezer sits at 54.4% of capacity this week compared to 21.3% last year at this time.

Tzaneen Dam, which supplies potable water to Polokwane is sitting at 80% capacity this week compared to 7.6% last year at this period.

This brings relief to most communities benefitting from the dam.

In Vhembe district, dams are at full capacity. The Nandoni Dam is bursting at the seams, sitting at 101% capacity this week compared to 97.5% last week.

READ MORE: Heavy rains leave R400 million bill in Mpumalanga

Ratau said his department urges communities to be vigilant around overflowing dams and rivers and avoid crossing and driving through flooded roads and over bridges as they did not know how deep the water is.

But the report by the water and sanitation department has been met with criticism from certain Limpopo communities.

In the Vhembe region, one of the hard-hit regions, residents in Malamulele said the good rains may mean nothing to them.

Community member Sasavona Mkhari said she lives next to Nandoni Dam, which she said was full.

“But government will still take decades, if not centuries, to reticulate the water to communities,” she lamented.

In the drought-stricken Sekhukhune region, residents bragged that their two dams, Flag Boshielo and De Hoop had recorded over 100% capacity.

“But water could still be rare,” said Seun Mogotji in Ga-Ntoane, Dennilton.

“Women will still be raped while en route to rivers to fetch dirty water and school children will still be forced to carry water in squeeze bottles to school.”


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