Mzansi Agriculture Talk

Agriculture

MEC cautions farmers on the continued rise of water levels in the Vaal and Orange River Systems

Due to heavy rains received in most parts of the Northern Cape Province, there has been reports of increasing water levels along the Vaal and Orange River systems.

The Provincial Disaster teams, District and Local Authorities are on high alert and have put measures in place to avoid loss of human lives, livestock or damage to property. 

The MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development,  Mase Manopole has cautioned farmers and farm workers residing along the two river banks, to be careful and heed the Flood Alert Warning issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation in the Northern Cape.

The Flood Alert Warning informs communities of the continuing increase of water levels due to heavy rains in the Vaal and Orange river systems. It further warns the community to avoid swimming in the nearby streams, as this could lead to possible drowning.

The seasonal rainfall forecasts show that there is high likelihood of above-normal rainfall over the Northern Cape- which is favourable for the agricultural sector.

MEC Manopole has welcomed the rains, especially in the drought-stricken regions, namely, the ZF Mgcawu, Namakwa and Pixley Ka Seme.

However, she called on the Farmers and Game Farmers in the Namakwa and ZF Mgcawu regions to abide by the Flood Alert Warnings by removing livestock, water pumps and agricultural equipment, in order to avoid damage to their goods.

If left unattended, the floods will damage the irrigation infrastructure which could hamper food production.

The MEC further encouraged the communities and farmers around the Province to put rainwater harvesting methods such as rain barrels, cistern installation and creation of rain water gardens to use, for future usage.

The Department of Water and Sanitations’ (DWS) Weekly State of Reservoirs Report issued on 11 January 2021.

•    Northern Cape’s average water storage level is at 98.9% with the Orange River at 87.1% and the Vaal at Douglas Weir 140.24% full – unverified data.

•    The Douglas Storage Weir in the Vaal River has a storage capacity of 16 245 million m3 and is currently at 21 730million million m3 or 133.8%. Boegoeberg Dam in the Orange River is at 22 650 million m3 or 109.9%, Spitskop Dam in the Harts River is at 61 684 million m3 or 106.7% and the Vaalharts Weir is at 75.6%.

•    The Karee Dam is the only water storage dam in the Northern Cape and it is at 48.6% storage capacity.

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