Winter is coming: Mayor inspects progress on City’s Winter Readiness programme

05 May 2022 in Where We Govern

On Thursday, 05 May, Executive Mayor, Geordin-Hill Lewis visited Vrygrond to see some of the proactive interventions that our teams are carrying out ahead of winter to protect residents and their homes as far as possible from flooding. The City is doing our part now to prepare for winter. We ask residents to also do their part by protecting stormwater infrastructure and by being aware of the risks of building structures below the winter flood lines.

He inspected the work being done with jet vacuum trucks to remove roots, litter, sand and other obstacles that cause blockages in the sewer system.

Sewer jetting is a key part of preparing the wastewater system for the rainy winter months.

Before the end of June, the City’s Sanitation teams will proactively jet clean 100 kilometres of pipe in the most flood-prone parts of the city. This programme is well under way.

Stormwater drains, ponds, canals and gullies in flood prone areas are also being cleaned by the teams from Urban Mobility.

In addition, our Disaster Risk Management teams will proactively visit all of those areas with high numbers of informal structures below winter flood lines, and so most at risk of flooding, to distribute information pamphlets to warn residents about the risks. They will use loudhailing, and in some parts erect signage indicating likely flood areas. Examples of these pamphlets and signage are available here.

Thirty-eight high-risk areas, mainly informal areas, have been identified for these preventative interventions. Awareness campaigns have already taken place in areas such as Lotus River, Philippi, Gugulethu, Marikana, Barcelona, Kanana, Winnie Mandela, ZweZwe (high risk area), Bloekombos, Wallacedene, Siyahlala, Happy Valley, Uitkyk, Pinetown, BM and RR Section in Khayelitsha, and more. This initiative is continuing in the remaining areas across the metro.

He joined in this awareness campaign today, loudhailing in the Vrygrond area to get the winter readiness message out.

In winter there are a number of areas and roads that get flooded, especially in low-lying areas, and where stormwater inlets and infrastructure are blocked.

The City is acting proactively to try to alleviate the effects of this flooding. We call on residents to please also play their part by ensuring that they do not burden our stormwater system with the dumping of waste in the infrastructure.

Finally, we have a winter readiness programme for persons living on the streets: This winter, R10 million will go directly to increasing beds at NGO-run shelters through the winter. The City’s Care Programme to help people get off the streets has been increased to R77 million in 2022/23.

Potholes and blocked stormwater infrastructure can be reported to the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63, which is available 24/7.

Investment in infrastructure:

Additionally, over the long-term significant investment will be made on water and sanitation infrastructure – with R1,6 billion this coming financial year alone.

This amount includes R406 million for the replacement of the Cape Flats Main Sewer, R755 million for the replacement and upgrading of pipes in our sewer network, and R300 million for the replacement and upgrading of pipes on our water network. We will double our pipe replacement to 50 kilometres this year, and in 2023 we will double it again to 100 kilometres. We will spend four times more than we did last year on pipe replacement.

At the instruction of the Mayor, the City has also formulated a sewer spill reduction plan. An additional amount of approximately R152 million was allocated for sewer line jetting and over-pumping. We have also allocated:

  • R30 million for the procurement of additional new vehicles for fleet expansion. This includes: six 10 ton tipper with crane and grab, four combination (vacuum and jet combined) units, jet trucks and one vacuum tanker, and six water tankers. The water tankers will help provide drinking water to communities when needed, while the other vehicles will help deal with clearing sewer blockages.
  • R20 million budget increase for pump stations to ensure these facilities receive necessary security upgrades and replacement of electrical components.
  • R41 million to replace additional sewer and water pipes.

The City has the following tips for the public about how they can help to reduce flood risks:

  • Clear out drainage systems on properties
  • Raise the floor level of a structure so that it is higher than the natural ground level
  • Make sandbags
  • Dig trenches around the house to divert water away from the house
  • Report blocked drains, intakes and illegal dumping – illegal dumping in the stormwater canals and sewers make flooding worst.
  • Don’t dump illegally, rather use the City’s solid waste services to get rid of waste or take their recyclables, garden greens and builders rubble to our drop-off facilities.
  • Check for illegal stormwater-to-sewer cross-connections on your properties, where water is chanelled from roofs, gutters, and paved or hard yard surface areas into sewer drains. Ingress of rainwater and items such as litter, material, builders rubble, fats, sanitary ware, cause sewers to overflow especially when it rains.
  • Waterproof roofs, clear gutters and remove dead tree branches
  • Do not leave an open flame unattended as the risk of fires during winter especially is significant.

In an emergency or flooding:

Call the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

The City of Cape Town will do everything possible to ensure we navigate the winter season as safely as possible, and protect life and property.