The rapid succession of cold fronts passing over Cape Town last week provided some anxious moments for residents living along the Liesbeek River. While rainfall for July has not been extraordinary high, the short periods between rainfall events nearly tipped the Liesbeek waters over the edge. Rapid runoff from hardened surfaces such as roads, buildings and pathways contributed to channelling rainwater so that there was insufficient time for the discharge to flow down the river before the next deluge. While reports of damage appear to be limited, the events of this past week are a timely warning that similar conditions could to be repeated in future. Development of the Liesbeek catchment is now fully extended. Further extension of hardened land surfaces in the Liesbeek catchment will put downstream properties and owners at risk of flooding. The events of this past week cannot simply be dismissed as climate change, but rather the result of an accumulation of poor planning and management of surface and ground water draining into the river.
Close to bursting the banks at Rondebosch Shopping Centre (11am 26 July 2007)
Oh so close! The banks at the River Club at maximum capacity. The River Club were forced to close their doors soon after this photo was taken.
If you are interested, look at two satellite images of the Berg River in flood (before and after). Go to the site:
http://earthobservat … .gov/NaturalHazards/
Click on the flood icon situated over Cape Town.