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Flood warning as Vaal and Bloemhof dams overflow

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South Africa
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Govt. South Africa
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The Vaal and Bloemhof dams sluice gates are to remain open as the outflow of water remains high, the Department of Water and Sanitation said on Thursday.

This comes after the department opened two sluice gates on Monday due to the continued rain in the catchments feeding the Vaal Orange River System and the Integrated Vaal River System.

According to the department, the Vaal Dam storage capacity currently stands at 111.1% – an increase of 0.6% from the day before, while Bloemhof is sitting at 111% – a drop of 1% overnight.

“The decrease in river flow levels upstream of the dams and predictions of a low likelihood of heavy rains next week have at this stage nullified the need to increase the outflow from Bloemhof Dam.

“The outflows from both catchments feeding the Vaal Orange River System and the Integrated Vaal River System have been kept the same,” the department explained.

However, department spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, has cautioned the public that the outflows from Bloemhof, although unchanged, are still relatively high.

“We ask the downstream communities to remain vigilant.

“Communities living near the Lower Orange should also keep a watchful eye as flows are forecast to increase significantly starting over the weekend,” Ratau said.

Meanwhile, according to reports, the North West provincial government has started evacuating people living along the Bloemhof Dam and Vaal River banks.

"We are following a national and provincial directive because Bloemhof Dam is full beyond its capacity. The Vaal River in Bloemhof is also full, leaving some yards covered in water," Lekwa Teemane Municipal Mayor, Sebang Motlhabi, told News24.

"We are avoiding a situation where we are caught napping and faced with an emergency we could have prevented. We want this process to be smooth and quick,” he added.

The online publication said about 83 households between Bloemhof Dam and the Vaal River had been advised to leave their homes. – SAnews.gov.za