Residents living along Vaal River urged to evacuate as water levels continue to rise

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The Department of Water and Sanitation is encouraging residents living along the Vaal River to co-operate with municipalities as they work to keep residents safe amidst rising water levels.

High rainfall in recent days has caused the water levels along the river and within the Vaal Dam to increase drastically.

As of Monday, the water level at the Vaal Dam stood at 105.3%.

An additional two sluice gates have been opened to accommodate for the rising water levels.

Spokesperson for the Department, Sputnik Ratau says municipalities are encouraging evacuations where necessary: “It is important for communities along the Vaal Orange River system to really take heed of the EMS of their municipalities and evacuate when they are asked to do so because we are seeing much rain coming into the system. We looked at the fact that level is rising and opened another two sluice gates. We have 4 sluice gates opened at the Vaal Dam. The Bloemhof Dam has risen and is at 108.2%. That is part of the reason why emergency services are encouraging people to evacuate.”

Meanwhile, residents along the banks of the Vaal River in Bloemhof and Christiana in the North West have started to evacuate their homes and guesthouses in anticipation of possible flooding.

Local guesthouse owner Sias Meyer told the SABC that they were warned that the river might reach critical levels soon and that it would be best if they evacuate for their own safety.

Persistent rain in the Vaal River catchment area has seen the water levels of the Vaal Dam increase significantly over the past 24 hours.

The Bloemhof Dam is currently at 108% capacity with a discharge of 1022 cubic meters per second.

This will see river levels downstream from the dam increase at an alarming rate.

The Lekwa Teemane Local municipality has confirmed that their disaster management teams will be on standby to assist residents to evacuate.

A local church has offered their facilities for storage of furniture and household goods.