Power outages, burst river banks across the Western Cape as storm surges dump significant rain and fill dams

The Western Cape has reported flooding in large parts. Photo: Armand Hough /Independent Newspapers

The Western Cape has reported flooding in large parts. Photo: Armand Hough /Independent Newspapers

Published Jul 11, 2024


The Western Cape has been hit hard by adverse weather since the weekend and this is set to remain until the coming week.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and several Western Cape Government (WCG) MECs, along with other role players held a sitting on measures implemented to mitigate, as far as possible, the impact of a series of cold fronts lashing the province.

“I am deeply grateful to our disaster management teams and role players who have worked very hard through difficult conditions. Your dedication to the residents of our province is appreciated,” Winde said.

Large parts of the Western Cape received significant amounts of rainfall and the Level 8 weather warning for heavy rain, flooding and mudslides for the Cape Town Metro, Drakenstein and Stellenbosch regions remain in place.

At the daily Joint Operations Centre (JOC) meeting, Colin Deiner, Chief Director of Disaster Management in the Western Cape, explained that over the next several days the centre will continue to monitor the situation closely. He stressed that a critical aspect of the overall response is to ensure all disaster officials and organisations are adequately resourced to keep up the work they have been doing.

Winde said around 4,000 structures have sustained damage across the Cape Town Metro, impacting 15,000 people. With the help of NGOs, 11,000 hot meals are being provided each day across Cape Town Metro to people affected by the weather.

The JOC was activated on Friday, July 5, ahead of the first cold front and brings together multiple stakeholders, among them the South African Weather Service (Saws) which has recorded the following rainfall measurements over 24 hours from Tuesday to Wednesday:

  • 61mm for Paarl
  • 52.8mm for Stellenbosch
  • 59mm for Ceres
  • 57mm for Wellington.

Winde said many rivers reached full saturation levels and run-off could increase exponentially and the Department of Water and Sanitation is monitoring this. The dam levels across the province have also rapidly risen due to the rainfall.

Clanwilliam Dam is currently at 90.89%; the Berg River Dam has increased to 104.06%; Theewaterskloof Dam is at 76%; and the Misverstand Dam has risen to 161%.

“A controlled release of water from Wemmershoek Dam into the Berg River was carried out as a precautionary measure. This controlled release is necessary to reduce the risk of flooding downstream,” Winde said.

Electricity faults are being reduced, however, 11,000 people were still without Eskom power by Wednesday in numerous areas, including Citrusdal, De Doorns and Touwsrivier. In Delft, around 1,500 Eskom customers are without electricity.

Winde said the Western Cape Department of Social Development is coordinating humanitarian relief efforts for affected communities with partner NGOs like Gift of the Givers Foundation, The Warehouse Foundation, Ashraful Aid, Al-Imdaad Foundation, Islamic Relief SA, and the Community Chest of the Western Cape. The department will also provide psychosocial support where needed.

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