Author: Tjeerd Driessen

KZN floods — three practical steps to make South African cities more flood resilient

Source(s): Our burning planet - Daily Maverick

Massive destruction from the devastating flooding events that took place in KwaZulu-Natal last week is another reminder about the urgency to bolster flood resilience in South Africa.

With more than 440 lives lost, an estimated 4,000 homes having been destroyed and road damage of at least R5.6-billion, it’s no surprise that President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a national state of disaster.


Listed below are three practical ways in which we can begin to become more flood resilient.

Infrastructure maintenance and water-sensitive planning

It’s not the first time that areas such as eThekwini have suffered flood damage in recent years. Back in 2019, the city experienced flood events, and among the key criticisms then was that maintenance of drain infrastructure was not performed regularly or sufficiently.


Better forecasting tech

Weather services can predict heavy rainfall and flash flooding to provide early warnings to residents, but these forecasts cover general areas — such as Johannesburg — rather than specific locations — like X Street in Zandspruit. People are less likely to react to general warnings, which is why flooding often catches them unaware and unprepared. The dissemination of early flood warnings to the general public, therefore, needs to improve.



A final measure involves creating more awareness among towns and cities of what the current flood risks are in their specific areas. This includes awareness of general flood risks of their house, street or neighbourhood as well as receiving early flood warnings in a timely manner.

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Hazards Flood
Country and region South Africa
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