The Department of Water and Sanitation in the Western Cape has unveiled another early warning drought and flood system in the Keurbooms river in Plettenberg Bay in the Southern Cape.

The weir has been refurbished at a cost of R14 million.

It will also accurately measure water from catchment areas.

It’s one of over 300 water measuring points that have been installed throughout the province.

“Now that we are in a drought we need to know precisely what is the volume of water in the river because certain municipalities take water from the river, for instance Bitou municipality. And we need to know what is the amount of water within because if we don’t have that info we cannot manage the water resource. That is especially true when it comes to droughts. This region is in a terrible drought. We are concerned with the amount of water within the region. The dam level is extremely low,” says the department’s Leon Davids.

Besides drought, there’s also the risk of flooding.

The area experienced devastating floods in 2011 and 2012.

Flood damage is one of the reasons for the refurbishment.

“It gives us an indication to say where the flood is. There are a few things about the flood. The one thing is when you measure here then you know when the flood is, where the high water is coming from the river. Then you warn the people to say the high floods are coming, just be careful, be warned. This is the purpose of measuring the river in terms of floods. That’s why we call it an early warning system,” adds the department’s Rashid Khan.

The refurbishment of the gauging weir is 95% complete and is expected to be completed before the end of next month.