Thursday, 17 January 2013

Chelmsford Dam remains dangerously full

One of the partially-open radial gates.

More rainfall in the next couple of weeks could result in floods.

Over the festive season, eight of the Chelmsford (Ntshingwayo) Dam’s radial gates were opened.

Water controller for the dam, Gert van der Merwe said that by December 22, gallons of rain had raised the level of the dam’s waters to almost 102 percent capacity. A water release of thousands of cubic metres per second was necessary to reduce the level.

From the 22nd to the 23rd, Mr van der Merwe explained, water was released to bring the dam’s dangerously high capacity down to a more manageable 95 percent.

"The water released could have filled a swimming pool or 10."

Mr van der Merwe’s rough estimate of the amount of water released is 102 000 litres per second. Last weekend too, the dam once again reached extremely high levels.

With a torrent of rain falling, Mr van der Merwe said the dam, already at 95 percent capacity, had to undergo further flood release, with 12 cubic metres per second allowed to flow out.

"The dam is down to about 95,1 percent now."

Weather reports suggest abundant rainfall can be expected over the next month or so, Mr van der Merwe added. With this, he believes the dam will easily reach maximum capacity in about a fortnight.

"In that regard, I want to warn everyone of possible flooding caused by the high level of the dam."

- LookLocal

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