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Rising water table swamps Jozi

Joburg roads are starting to crumble because of the rising water table.

Underground water is seeping through the roads and causing huge sinkholes and flooding into neighbouring properties.

Acid mine water flooding Johannesburg

Acid mine water flooding Johannesburg

Affected residents are facing costs of thousands of rand to install special drainage systems because the Joburg Roads Agency (JRA) does not work on private property.

The Star’s Metro Watch has received many complaints about underground water bubbling through road surfaces and properties across the city.

The JRA has confirmed receiving complaints from suburbs across the city including the northern suburbs of Parkwood, Orange Grove and Houghton, Eldorado Park, Roodepoort, Randburg, Soweto and Lenasia.

It confirmed that the number of complaints over the past 18 months had increased rapidly because of the heavy rain.

JRA engineer Andre Nel said that in previous years, there had been complaints only from properties in areas close to rivers.

He said surface water is caused by rain water seeping into underground layers of soil. It then gets trapped by a rocky layer and cannot seep any deeper, and the water table rises.

“Residents find water bubbling through the road and/or their gardens. Generally, it is easy to repair, but in some cases, where the damage is more extreme, we have to install special drainage, which costs about R250 per running metre,” he said.

The drains are called subsoil drainage systems and are installed in the worst-hit areas.

They have already been installed in areas in Randburg, Lenasia and Lenasia South, Bryanston and Roodepoort.

Households affected by the water will also have to install the drainage at the same cost.

Many will have to install the drain around the entire perimeter of the property. If this is not done, the water can get under the foundations of a house and could start eroding the material, Nel warned.

Nel said the local maintenance depots did the installation of the subsoil drainage system and prioritised the worst-hit areas.

“They have budgets, but if they hit a really problematic area, they can request money from the capital expenditure budget,” he said.

Nel said that if the winter and forthcoming summer were dry, the water would dry up, but if both seasons were rainy, there would be massive problems next year.

Bad news for residents is that most insurance companies will not pay for damage caused by a rising water table.

Trevor Devitt, Outsurance’s head of communications, confirmed that the general policy was that natural disasters such as wind, thunder, lightning, storms, floods or snow, would be paid for by insurers, but a rising water table was not considered a natural disaster.

Source: IOL

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