Viljoenskroon News

Free State floods

Posted on 12 Feb 2010
Low-pressure system causes Free State floods causing more that R 100 million in damages.

Some farms in the Bothaville, Viljoenskroon and Klerksdorp districts received as much as 200mm in 24 hours, leaving grain lands flooded. In some cases, crops were standing in 2m to 3m of water, which could cut off the oxygen flow to the roots, causing the plants to wither and die. Reports of floods were also received from De Aar, Hartswater, Odendaalsrus and Koppies, and Kroonstad.

Hannes Haasbroek, who is near Kommandodrif in the Bothaville district, had 125mm in a period of five hours. "Thousands of hectares of maize are standing knee-deep in water," he said. "We received good rains throughout the planting season, and that meant that these rains were not absorbed because of the existing high soil-moisture content. The water forms a pool, so the plants are effectively drowning. I believe this disaster will have an impact on the ultimate national crop yields, because we are in the top production area of South Africa."

Corne Botma, also from Bothaville, estimated the damage in that district at a minimum of R100 million, if production potential is taken into consideration.
According to Botma, the walls of six earth dams in the Kroonstad area had burst their banks and, at time of going to press, the Vals River was rising by 20cm every 15 minutes, while the Vaal River's levels increased by 1m on the night of 26 January, and the Vals by 2m. Farmers were on standby to help should any more rains fall in the catchment areas.

Excessive rain in the central and western parts of South Africa was caused by a very strong low-pressure system that developed over southern Namibia and Botswana, according to Johan van Berg, Santam's manager for product development.
He said the system looked like a cyclone on the satellite photo, but without the strong winds, and had caused flooding in various places in the Northern Cape and the North West. Annelie Coleman
Source: Farmersweekly

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