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Rising water levels in dams and rivers could pose a danger to communities

Many of us have welcomed the rains that have soaked most parts of the country in recent weeks.

This has resulted in river levels rising significantly and some dams filling up.

However, in some places the rains have caused flooding which has resulted in extensive damage to infrastructure and property.

During the past week alone, some parts of the country experienced major rainfall but it left behind a trail of destruction.

Some people even lost their livestock while others even lost their lives due to heavy rains and the resultant flash floods.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) would like to warn members of the public not to participate in any form of activities in isolated dams or flooded rivers as that might endanger their lives.

With the weather patterns switching from hot to extreme heatwaves, children find themselves idling around and, as a result, look for places to cool off.

Some of these places might not be ideal as they may include flooded rivers and isolated dams.

Reports from most rural areas say these also include stagnated water, dams and rivers caused by heavy rains that fell in the past week.

Boys in particular top the list of children who drown in rivers.

It’s important for parents to engage with boy-children on safety around dams and rivers.

The same should apply to adults in Christian circles when members have to be baptised in flowing rivers.

The DWS urges church leaders and their congregants to be mindful of their safety before attempting to hold any ceremonies in or near dams and rivers.

Traditional healers are also urged to practise safety and save lives.

Some of the recent tragic incidents in the Free State happened at Liebenbergvlei Dam near Bethlehem where three people drowned while being baptised.

A 14-year-old boy also drowned in a dam in Welkom.

In Limpopo’s Ntwane Village in Moutse just outside Grobblesdal, a body of a man who drowned in a dam while fishing was also recovered.

This shows how serious the situation is regarding the rising water levels in dams and rivers across the country.

  • Marcus Monyakeni is a communications specialist at the Department of Water and Sanitation

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