Winter is just around the corner, and for many, this means long cold nights snuggled up beneath their favourite blanket with a lovely cup of hot chocolate. Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to afford this luxury, as the winter signifies the beginning of flood season, which often leaves thousands of people without a home or any possessions left to their name.
To help mitigate the loss of property and even lives, the City of Cape Town has released its annual winter preparedness programme for 2021. In particular, this year the programme is focusing on the maintenance of the city’s stormwater system, such as the cleaning of gullies, catchpits, pipes and ponds.
The Cape storms are synonymous with high winds that scatter all sorts of debris around the city, including leaves, litter and other forms of rubbish. This excess waste often ends up in the stormwater infrastructure and causes blockages of the stormwater system. Making matters worse, is the illegal dumping of objects into the system.
As a result of this side effect caused by the strong winds and rain, residents who live in low lying areas are particularly susceptible to the impact of storms and may have their roads flooded if the stormwater infrastructure is not cleared to allow for the free-flow of runoff during and after a rainfall event.
Potholes often also occur during the rainy season as water has a direct impact on the road structure, in particular roads that are older or not in a good condition.
When these two factors are put together, it can have a devastating impact on the cities infrastructure. This is why the City encourages residents to please continue reporting these via the following channels:
- Phone the Transport Information Centre on 080 065 6463. This is a 24/7 information centre;
- Send an email to [email protected]; or
- Call the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089 to report flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions.
In the event that you or someone you know needs to contact one of the aforementioned channels, they are reminded to include their name, contact number and the exact location, area and street name, as well as to reference a landmark if possible. These details help us deliver services efficiently, and promptly.
“Winter is almost upon us‘. Cape Town has wet winters and we are doing all we can to prevent flooding of our streets and roads, however, we cannot do it on our own. Preparation for winter is a shared responsibility between the City of Cape Town and residents,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Alderman Felicity Purchase in a statement.
“We implore our residents to work with us by making sure that their gutters are cleaned, trees are pruned and that there are no obstructions in waterways around the home that could result in flooding or water damage,’ Alderman added.
In terms of what you can personally do to prepare your home for the rainy season, Private Property suggests the following steps.
Clean out your gutters–
Cleaning out your cutters is essential when preparing for winter. Any sort of leaves, twigs or debris can lead to blockages, which can then result in expensive repairs, especially is the damage has extended to your roof.
Insulation is key when trying to keep warm. Ensure that your windows and doors have proper seals around them to prevent unwanted leakages or drafts.
Keep your pipes warm-
This might sound like quite the undertaking, but it will be worth it in the long run. The simplest way to ensure your pipes don’t freeze or burst is to use heat tape on the problem areas. Heat tape is essential during winter because it is designed to prevent heat from escaping and is relatively easy to install.