Flood impact assessment and proposals for improved flood management in Keimoes, South Africa

University essay from Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för Teknisk vattenresurslära

Abstract: This study assesses the impacts of the floods in early 2011 in the Northern Cape Province in South Africa and focuses especially on the small town Keimoes located on the major Orange River. During this period 33 municipalities in 7 out of the country’s 8 provinces were declared as disaster areas due to widespread flooding. In Keimoes and the Northern Cape Province the flood impacts were widespread with severe effects on agriculture, infrastructure and local livelihoods. As agriculture is widespread along the Orange River in the region this sector was especially affected. The fact that the floods hit during harvesting time meant that the agricultural sector besides damages to land and infrastructure also suffered large crop losses. This study shows that the flood emergency walls in this area were in a very poor condition at the time of the flood and many of them broke and failed to hold up for the high flows of the flood. Information about the upcoming floods was insufficient in some areas which resulted in several communities being poorly prepared. Management of dams upstream in the catchment area came up as a main aspect and data presented here points to the conclusion that flood reduction is prioritized unjustifiably low in dam management. However, given the complexity of this issue and the limitations of this study, more analysis would have to be done on the matter before a new dam management framework can be recommended. The facts and argumentations in this study however justify that such analysis with all its cost and resource implications are initiated.

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