Orange River baptism alert

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 02 April 2010

The Department of Water Affairs has warned those taking part in baptisms or recreational activities along the Orange River in the Free State over the Easter holidays to be careful.

Vanderkloof Dam. Photo by JackySnappy2010.

“Whether people intend to use the river for baptism or recreational purposes, they should always be aware of the dangers that a river or any body of water holds,” spokesperson Kido Nkonyane said yesterday.

She said the region had received very good rainfall over the past few months and rivers were flowing strongly in some areas.

It would not be advisable to use the Orange River between the Gariep and Vanderkloof dams and in close proximity to the Vanderkloof dam wall for baptisms or recreation, as both dams were more than 98 percent full and water releases might occur.

“People are advised not to enter fast flowing rivers and be careful not to baptise, swim or paddle in areas close to dam walls, in case of releases from the dam.”

Releases could be expected at any time of the day below the Gariep Dam for hydro-power generation.

She said during water releases the water level below the dam could increase by a metre in as little as 15 minutes, making the river a very dangerous place to be in.

Nkonyane advised people to let the local police station know when a river baptism was going to place.

– Sapa

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