Picture: Ruairi Abrahams
The City of Cape Town’s Flooding and Storms Task Team has completed its annual flood risk assessment - a key element of the City’s winter readiness plan - as winter approaches.

Although Cape Town was in the midst of a drought and winter rainfall patterns could not be predicted with certainty, flooding was a known hazard in the city and a number of departments were working hard to mitigate the impact of such incidents in the coming months, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, and Social Services, JP Smith, said.

Historically, Cape Town was known for experiencing cut-off low-pressure systems during the winter months that resulted in heavy rainfall and flash floods.

The risks were increased when such conditions coincided with the Spring tide resulting in structural collapses, power outages and trees uprooted in the metropole, he said.

This year, the task team found:

  • 29 informal settlements, mostly situated along the N2 strip and Khayelitsha, were considered high-risk because of their location. Some of these were situated in wetlands, ponds and natural water-courses, and would need to be relocated to higher ground;
  • Parts of the N1, N2 and R300 highways had also been identified as flood risks. Roadworks to mitigate these risks were underway; and
  • Mountain slopes in the Helderberg, South Peninsula and Table Mountain range that had been stripped of stabilising vegetation by fires were a risk for flooding or mudslides.

“The Disaster Risk Management Centre is still awaiting a long-range weather forecast from the South African Weather Service.

“Given our desperate need for rain to counter the crippling drought, we are obviously hoping for above average rainfall, but that comes with its own challenges.

“It is, therefore, imperative that everyone does their bit to ensure we are ready for winter,” he said.

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