Santareme flood risk to be addressed

The Department of the Environment (DEDEA) has finally approved the application by Kouga Municipality for the construction of a spillway and flow path for “Lake Geneva”.

Many will remember the devastating fires of November 2012 that destroyed so many houses on the canals, but how many recall the flood swept through parts of Santareme causing millions of Rands in damage to property just six weeks earlier. The flood, caused when an entrapment of water in a dune in the area between the landfill (tip) and St Francis Drive in the area near Tom Brown Boulevard burst.

According to reports at the time it is was fortunate that only the smaller of three of these entrapments in the area burst for had the larger entrapment above  this smaller one collapsed, damage would have been even more substantial. But the situation could have been worse still had the largest of the three, a large body of water affectionately referred to as “Lake Geneva” which is purported to hold at least ten times more water than either of the lower entrapments, given way. The potential damage to parts of Santareme and nearby Port St Francis can only be imagined.

Well it has taken some three and a half years but finally approval has been given to allow construction of a spillway and flow path for flood waters from ‘Lake Geneva’.  This should permanently address the threat of serious flooding for the entire area from the airpark to Tarragona Road.

This issue was taken up at the time by a team from the St Francis Kromme Trust and St Francis Bay Residents Association who looked  at possible solutions, including a spillway and flow path, to direct any future flood waters towards the Romazini Valley, rather than Diaz Drive & Cavendish Drive. This solution was put to officials from the municipality and Public Works Department, who fully concurred and the EIA has been in progress since then with approval in principle being finally received at the beginning of February.

But we are not out of the woods yet for there are still a few bureaucratic processes required, but sources indicate it should be possible to proceed with the construction of the spillway and improvement of drainage under St Francis Drive during the next financial year.  But then again! How often have we heard work on the bridge is imminent yet we wait? The question must be how long will it take the Kouga Municipality to call for tenders and get the job done?

Possibly those living in Santareme should maybe consider turning their hands to building an ark in the interim just in case it takes another three and a half years before anything is done.

Watch video posted on St Francis Connect way back then – Santareme Flooding this morning….. – St Francis Connect

Read 1. Environmental_Authorisation

Thanks to Hilton Thorpe and St Francis Residents Association for the documentation and information