Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
1 minute read
28 Dec 2021
9:47 am

WATCH: Sluice gate opened as Vaal Dam breaches 100%

Nica Richards

Farmers and communities residing downstream of the Vaal Dam are urged to be cautious, as heavy flows are expected. 

The Vaal Dam is currently at 107.1%. Picture: Twitter/@ReenvalSA/Christo Snyman

For more than a week, the Vaal Dam has breached 100% storage, prompting the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to announce the opening of one sluice gate on Tuesday morning. 

There is a possibility that other sluices could be opened by the DWS if rains and heavy inflows continue.

The department urged all farmers and communities residing downstream of the Vaal Dam to be cautious, and to move their equipment away from the water’s edge, as heavy flows are expected. 

ALSO READ: Vaal Dam full to the brim, thanks to recent rains

The DWS also emphasised that no one should be crossing low-lying bridges currently, due to the extreme risk of them being flooded.

This time last week, the dam sat at 103.9%, and as of Monday, storage measured 107.1%

The healthy storage levels in the Vaal Dam is thanks to consistent and heavy rains falling in the 38,500km² catchment areas. 

The Integrated Vaal River System consists of 14 dams. 

ALSO READ: Why the Vaal Dam doesn’t fill up after every thunderstorm

It takes a significant amount of rainfall for the dam to fill, due to evaporation rates and the vastness of its catchment areas. 

As of 24 December, Rand Water reports the Sterkfontein Dam as being at 100.7% capacity, Grootdraai Dam at 101.5%, and Bloemhof Dam at 108.8%. 

This is the second time this year where the dam has breached 100% storage. On 10 March, the Department of Water and Sanitation confirmed the Vaal Dam stood at 105%.