Orange River in Flood – Follow Up

For many people across the whole of South Africa the past couple of months have been filled with loss, devastation and heartache.

Many farmers along the Orange River have suffered a lot of damage to their vineyards and for some more than half of their harvest simply flushed away.  Houses were flooded, people were stranded and some tragically even lost their lives.

Even farms between Hanover and De Aar in the Northern Cape flooded, see pictures below of such a farm.   Many towns in Gauteng were flooded to the point where only the rooftops of cars were visible!

The Bloemhof Dam replaced its waters four times during the period from mid- December 2010 to the end of January 2011.  That’s a lot of water!  See pictures above of the Bloemhof Dam.

Shortly after the floods in the Northern Cape subsided, the Vaal River went into flood.  At the same time the Orange River went into flood as well, therefore another flood was on its way to the Upington area.  As if the first flood did not wreak enough havoc.

Enough water to fill more than one million Olympic sized pools passed Upington and Kakamas in December and January and the Vaal Dam was still 107% full.

On 4 February 2011, the Department of Water Affairs measured the Orange River level in Kakamas at 10.8 meters.  Today the level is measured at 8.82 meters.

The irony of this specific area in the Northern Cape is that many raisin, grape and wine producing farmers also have sheep farms approximately 50km out of town.  On those sheep farms a somewhat drought is underway and limited rain has fallen, and when you’re in that area all you hear farmers say is “if only just some of this water flowing past us could flow onto our dry sheep farms”.

Heavy raining across South Africa is still going on and is still being predicted until the end of April.  All we can do is hope and pray that things will go back to normal soon for those affected.

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