Frequently Asked Questions: Being Prepared for Winter Flooding 2006 | Western Cape Government

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Frequently Asked Questions: Being Prepared for Winter Flooding 2006

Which are the high risk flood areas in the Cape Metropole?

  1. The severity and spread of the winter storms will ultimately determine which areas are most at risk.
  2. The following areas are most likely to experience flooding:
  3. - Informal settlements on the Cape Flats
    - Areas within or adjacent to stormwater ponds
    - Areas adjacent to rivers, canals and wetlands
    - Areas below mountain slopes denuded by fires
    - Trapped low-lying areas without adequate overland water flow routes
  4. Based on past experience, the City estimates that some 5 000 informal dwellings could be affected should Cape Town experience average winter conditions during 2006. This number could rise in the event of high intensity storms.

What is the City doing to minimise flood risk?


  1. Ensuring that the City's stormwater drainage close to burnt out areas are cleaned and kept clean. This includes stream intakes, gullies, catch pits, open ditches and piping. A first round of cleaning of all the affected areas has already been completed and a second round is underway. Further, after each rainstorm inspections are done and blocked and even partially blocked facilities are cleared.
  2. The Roads and Stormwater depots and three cleaning contractors are on 24 hour alert to react immediately to flooding and mudslides. The Table Mountain National Park will also supply emergency crews once alerted.


  1. Pro-active maintenance (mainly cleaning) of stormwater facilities by means of contracted services
  2. Reactive maintenance work, such as response to flood incidents is generally undertaken by the Roads and Stormwater Department's maintenance depots
  3. Informal settlements - current maintenance interventions underway to mitigate potential flood impacts. Maintenance efforts focus on the formal drainage systems either surrounding or within the various settlements
  4. Primarily focus on improving stormwater maintenance practice and to ensure equity in the distribution of resources
  5. Additional contractor teams has been established to assist with inspecting and clearing out critical stormwater systems, ie - trash screens, in & outlets, intakes before or after a rainfall event


  1. Communication campaign consisting of:
  2. - News releases
    - Workshops with stakeholders
    - Letters to residents of potential flood risk areas
    - Information notices to organisations
    - Personal visits
    - A trilingual brochure called "Protect Yourself from Floods" has been distributed to residents within high-flood risk areas, as well as fire and flooding preparedness education sessions with many of the communities.
  3. In consultation with local community structures every effort is being made to warn all high-risk flood-prone settlements of their status and to encourage them to relocate elsewhere.

What can residents [ informal and formal settlements] do to minimise risks?

  1. General:
  2. - Waterproof your roof
    - Secure your roof and remove any loose material on your property in case of gale force winds
    - Check that stormwater systems around your home and in your neighbourhood are clean and working well. Report blocked or damaged stormwater systems to the City.

  3. Informal areas:
  4. - Ensure that water can drain away from your house
    - Move to higher ground if you are staying in a flood-prone area

  5. Formal areas:
  6. - Check that gutters, downpipes, drains and furrows on your property will allow free flow of stormwater
    - Remove dead or damaged branches from trees
    - Secure garden furniture that can be blown over or damaged by the wind

Where can blocked sewers and drains be reported?

Flooding or blocked drains:

All Hours Roads and Stormwater
086 010 3054

Life- or property threatening emergencies:

Dial 107 if you are calling from a Telkom phone or
021 480 7700 if you are calling from a cellphone.

What steps are implemented when disaster strikes?

  1. Victims are registered according to a standard procedure whereby City officials, the Ward Councillor, Subcouncil Manager, community leaders and representatives of the affected people work as an area disaster team.
  2. This team then determines the short term needs such as shelter and social relief.
  3. Suitable shelter is then arranged at community halls if required.
  4. Depending on the nature of the incident, the City may implement engineering works to stabilise the situation, reduce flooding and fire risk, and to facilitate reconstruction.
  5. Human Settlement Services can provide basic building materials to informal settlement residents where structural damage occurs.

How are people registered for assistance?

  1. The area disaster team oversees the registration process.
  2. The name of the head of each affected family will be linked to a plot or dwelling
  3. The number of people per family is then recorded
  4. Each family receives a unique number to control the allocation of shelter, blankets, food, etc

What type of assistance does the City offer to residents?

  1. Donations are used when available
  2. The City provides community facilities for temporary shelter
  3. The City co-ordinates the dissemination of blankets, clothes and food with registered NGOs, with financial assistance from provincial government
  4. Depending on the damage caused, the City may provide basic building or waterproofing materials
  5. The City will provide filler material where filling of depressions can alleviate flooding, or where the raising of floor levels will reduce the ponding of water inside homes.

How and where can people apply for assistance

The multi-disciplinary team dealing with flooding will assess every situation upon receiving information via the emergency call centre or the City's flooding reporting number. Contact will be made with communities in this process.

To report flooding or blocked drains:

All Hours Roads and Stormwater
Tel: 086 010 3054

In the event of a life- or property threatening emergency
Contact 107 from a Telkom phone or
021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

The content on this page was last updated on 15 March 2014