|The Cape Prepares for Extreme Weather and Flooding|
The South African Weather Service has said that the Western Cape could expect normal rainfall patterns until July followed by heavy rains which could result in extreme weather and flooding.
The City of Cape Town has prepared a management plan to deal with floods particularly on the Cape Flats where flooding in low-lying areas can be expected.
The city manager for catchment, stormwater and river management, Barry Wood said a large percentage of Cape Town’s 3.2 million residents lived on the Cape Flats which was prone to flooding due to limited natural water courses and high water tables.
Elizabeth Thompson, mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater warned, “It is impossible to prevent flooding in low-lying informal settlements.”
Various shelters have been identified should the need arise and in collaboration with civil society, basic necessities, food and blankets would be provided.
Thompson also warned that due to the recent fires on Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak mudslides could be expected. She said that below the burnt areas drainage facilities were being cleaned and gabion weirs were being built in stream courses to slow the flow of water down the slopes and catch the debris. The city and SA National Parks had plans prepared to respond to emergencies in the area.
Thompson said, “ We have already embarked on a city-wide stormwater cleansing programme as part of our risk reductions measures. The proactive cleaning work is well underway. This includes the removal of silt and other debris from the underground systems and stormwater catchpits. There are 180 000 gullies, 7500 kilometres of pipeline and 800 retention ponds spread across the metropole.
“The municipality has allocated R18,4 million of the Solid Waste Department’s budget fro a cleaning service to minimise stormwater blockages,” Thompson said.
This year the city will continue its public education programme to warn residents of the dangers of settling in retention ponds, wetlands and other flood prone areas. Residents have been given information on how to raise floor levels, divert flood waters and reduce health hazards related to stagnant water.
With preparations and planning in place for extreme weather it will be possible to reduce the trauma and suffering which occurs with these conditions.