Vaal Dam outflow at 90 times normal

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 06 January 2011

Four more Vaal Dam sluice gates were opened on Thursday afternoon following an increase in the water inflow into the dam, Emfuleni Local Municipality said.

The water levels downstream of Vaal Dam are expected to reach levels last seen during the flood of 1996

“This brings the number of opened gates to 17 since December 16,” spokesperson Klaas Mofomme said in a statement.

He said the municipality would like to warn community members to continue being on high alert for possible flooding.

“However, it must be emphasised that our joint operation committee team, which includes the emergency services and disaster management teams, is on high alert to provide the necessary services should the need arise.”

Mofomme said the outflow into the Vaal River was now standing at 2.7 million litres per second and the water outflow is about 90 times higher than the normal flow.

All boat owners were advised to remove their boats from the water even if they were in boathouses on the river.

“We also appeal to residents around the lower situated establishments not to panic but to be on high alert.”

Community members were advised to report any incident to the Sedibeng call centre on 10177.

Flood warnings

The call for caution came after the Emfuleni municipality and the Mpumalanga province issued flood warnings on Thursday after main rivers began overflowing.

Heavy rains resulted in overflowing on the Vaal Rriver in Emfuleni, the Gariep, Bloemhof and Vanderkloof dams, as well as the Crocodile (Mgwenya) River in Mpumalanga.

“The water levels downstream of Vaal Dam are expected to reach levels last seen during the flood of 1996,” water affairs spokesperson Linda Page said.

Page said the capacity of the Bloemhof dam was currently 98% with the outflow expected to increase substantially through Thursday to 2 800m³ per second by 18:00.

The Gariep dam capacity was 113% while the Vanderkloof dam was at 107%.

The outflow was due to increase considerably by Sunday.

Roads closed

The flow in the Lower Orange River was around 5 200m³ per second.

A number of roads around Three Rivers in Vereeniging were closed due to the flooding.

These included Brandmuller, Golf, Klip River, and General Hertzog roads.

Houtkop road, commonly known as Potchestroom/Vereeniging road, was the only one accessible.

The municipality urged residents to avoid the affected areas.

“Motorists are advised not to underestimate the strength of the water in the flooded areas, but rather take alternative routes,” said Mofomme.


Residents living along the Crocodile River in Mpumalanga were also urged to stay alert as the river flow had increased.

Provincial co-operative governance spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene said the communities of Kanyamazane, Matsulu and Nkomazi must be on full alert.

“The Kwena Dam that feeds the Crocodile River is more than 105% full and already overflowing into the river.”

He said it had increased the already high river flow.

Those living downstream near the Elands River were also warned.

“The continued rains have resulted in an increase of dam and river levels thus making small streams very dangerous,” said Kunene.

“Parents are urged to warn children not to play next to streams and rivers.”

Weather patterns indicate that rains will continue for the next few days.

– Sapa

2 thoughts on “Vaal Dam outflow at 90 times normal

  1. Hi Japie,

    Clearly you are one of the many uninformed citisins of S.A.

    As you stated: “…in anticipation of the flood while you had the chance?” DWA and the SAWS monitores the weather and water levels all the time. We have a better idea of whar Nature is going to do than you know what you had for lunch today.

    Some of the MANY functions of a dam;
    – to regulate and control flow conditions downstream (i.e. in order to REDUCE flow conditions of that of NROMAL flow conditions without any dams present)[you don’t have any idea how big the floo dwould have been if there was no dam in the first place];
    – to supply water to urban areas (that is you and I);
    – to supply water for irrigation and live stock (that is to produce mielies and meat thet you and I eat);

    If the country’s water user’s are illiterate and ignorant we loos the ability to manage the water resources.

    This is not close to what happend last year, it is going to get much worse as the rain prevails and people ignore warnings.

    Maybe somebody should gather all the interested and affected parties and start a law suit against the general public of S.A. for incorrect information supplied by an unofficial, defemission of character, ignorance to the law, non-complience to the law, ignorance to warnings, and the list continious..

    Have a nice day.

  2. If this is going according to plan, it means they planned to flood all our houses. This is a BAAD plan. Why did you not lower the level to, say 90 % of capacity, in anticipation of the flood while you had the chance?
    A dam has two functions:
    – To store water
    – To act as a buffer against a flood.
    If the system is managed by incompetent management you lose the ability to act as a flood buffer.
    This is what happened last year and what is happening now. Maybe somebody must gather all affected parties and start a court case to recover damages from the department of water.

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