The City’s Roads and Stormwater teams, under trying circumstances, attended to 148 call-outs during the weekend of 27 and 28 June 2020 as a result of the storm. The work attended to ranged from flooded roads, to stormwater and gulley blockages, flooding in informal settlements, and flooding into formal properties.

The rainfall intensity recorded on Saturday, 28 June 2020, at various rainfall stations in the northern area confirmed that some areas experienced higher than normal rainfall in a matter of minutes, leading to localised flooding.

The City teams, which are only operating on about 33% capacity due to lockdown restrictions, worked around the clock to attend to the incidents caused by the storm, prioritising the more severe events such as flooded roads which led to flooding of homes and informal settlements. The City thanks residents for their patience while the staff worked tirelessly to attend to a large number of incidents.

The teams attended to incidents across the city including, Paarden Eiland, Woodstock, Diep River, Browns Farm, Kosovo, Bonteheuwel, Leonsdale, Brackenfell, Kuils River, Eerste River, Philippi, Kensington, Nyanga and Gugulethu to name a few. Flooding that took place at Porter Street, Woodstock was a result of illegal dumping.

The City team was there within an hour of receiving the call and removed a large amount of debris. Illegal dumping also caused a blocked manhole which led to flooding at Whiting Street, Eerste River. The teams removed plastic bottles, and other materials with the assistance of high pressure water jets. The team was onsite within 40 minutes of receiving the call. Ruchill road in Diep River was another incident of severe flooding where the teams worked tirelessly (see the images).

The high number of incidents was not only due to the heavy rainfall, but also because the City’s Winter Readiness Programme was put on hold at the end of March when the strict Level 5 lockdown was enforced by the National Government. The annual Winter Readiness Programme focuses on clearing out the stormwater systems, especially in flood prone areas.

Proactive preparation for a flood event is key to managing the impact of severe storms and this is why the City has a Winter Readiness Programme focusing on stormwater system maintenance such as the cleaning of gullies, catchpits, pipes, ponds and bulk system maintenance like rivers and canals.

The City’s proactive work is improved year-on-year based on experiences and patterns detected; and the programme is also continuously looking for new and innovative ways to further improve. We also need residents and businesses to assist us. Residents who live in low lying areas are particularly susceptible to the effects of a storm and are advised to use sandbags and trenching around the boundaries of their properties to catch the flow.

The City’s Transport Portfolio Committee, together with subcouncils, have been looking into the hot spot areas for a number of months. Going forward, they will be working with the roads and stormwater teams to witness first-hand the causes, such as illegal dumping, and discussing latest best practices and innovation. Illegal dumping into the stormwater and sewer systems remain the biggest cause of blockages and we again ask residents and business to refrain from this illegal activity.

Residents are requested to report blocked stormwater drains and illegal dumping to the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63. The TIC is available 24/7.