Bloemhof, Vaal residents urged to move

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pretoria – The Department of Water and Sanitation has called on communities living near the Vaal Dam and the Bloemhof Dam in the North West, to move, to avoid possible flooding.

The department intends to open the sluice gates on both dams this afternoon. Sluice gates commonly control water levels and flow rates in rivers and canals.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau told SAnews that due to the heavy rains in recent days, the dams are almost full.

“Initially we thought we will open the gates on Sunday but then we decided to open them today,” he said on Friday.

The department said in order to avoid the dams from bursting, they will open two sluice gates at the Vaal Dam and eight at the Bloemhof Dam which could result in flooding.

Parts of the country have been hit by heavy rains this past week and downpours continue to cause flooding in some areas.

The department said due to the heavy rains in both areas they are expecting both dams to be full by Sunday.

Experts predict the Bloemhof Dam will reach 100% capacity by Saturday.

The Vaal Dam is currently at 88% full and more rain is expected.

Meanwhile, residents and motorists across the country are urged to be cautious and avoid driving through flooded areas.

The department said that all the dams in the North West‚ except Molatedi and Klein Marico dams‚ had reached full capacity.

Bloemhof Dam was originally known as the Oppermansdrif Dam when it was under construction during the late 1960s. It is located at the confluence of the Vaal River and the Vet River on the border between the provinces North West and Free State.

The South African Weather Services says the heavy rains will continue until the end of the week. – SAnews.gov.za

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