Flood control along the Vaal / Orange System
Many questions were recently received from people concerned about possible flood damage along the two largest rivers in our country, after heavy rains fell over the catchment areas with the major dams already overflowing. Concerned homeowners have expressed their views on social media and some have knowingly or unknowingly created the idea that a crisis is imminent. In some cases, others have questioned the management of our reservoirs and accusations have been made of incompetence and ignorance among officials of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in charge, and making decisions around the control of flood waters. It is therefore necessary to give the public the assurance that DWS staff act professionally and with great responsibility and perform their tasks in accordance with best practice. Decisions regarding flood control are made with the entire system in mind and based on information collected in “real time” from hundreds of points along the rivers and tributaries. DWS staff also take into account the information received from the SA Weather Service to make forecasts according to proven models and will also make flood control decisions accordingly. The level of the Vaal Dam stood at 109.9% this morning (04/01/2022, 05h00) after peaking at 10.44% around 10h00 yesterday. There is still an inflow of approximately 550m³ / second this morning, to which the Vaal River contributes 528.2m³ / s and the Wilge 76.57m³ / s. With 4 sluice gates open, there is an outflow of approximately 570m³ / second. The river valves are closed at this stage. DWS opened the 3rd sluice gate at 10h00 yesterday, followed by the 4th sluice gate around 11h00, to increase the outflow and to balance it with the inflow. The level and inflow / outflow are constantly monitored and very carefully controlled to make optimal use of the dams in the Vaal / Orange System and to avoid possible flood damage downstream. DWS’ forecast indicates that, as the inflow decreases and with 4 sluice gates open, the level of the Vaal Dam by Monday 10 January will be approximately 106%. The public are invited to participate and can ask their questions on the Vaal Barrage Facebook page. For further information, please visit the DWS Hydrology page: http://www.dws.gov.za/Hydrology/ (Jacques Jansen van Vuuren - Chairperson of the Vaal Dam Reservoir Forum)
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