Posts Tagged ‘aston bay’

Breaching of the Seekoei River mouth begins

May 14, 2019

The breaching of the Seekoei estuary mouth at Paradise Beach got under way yesterday morning in Jeffreys Bay.

It is expected that it will take at least three weeks to remove enough sand for the estuary mouth to be opened, with a 50m x 500m trench set to be excavated.

The excavation site, as well as a section of the parking area, have been cordoned off.

We ask that people please remain outside these demarcated areas for safety reasons,” said Brenton Williams, the DA Councillor for Aston Bay.

The Seekoei River is suffering from a lack of base flow into the estuary with up to 26 legal dams in the catchment area and many illegal dams preventing the flow of fresh water.

This causes a high salinity level in the estuary and residents have reported numerous big fish dying off in the estuary that borders both Aston Bay and Paradise Beach.

The reason for the breach is to create a flow of sea water into the Seekoei River estuary to assist in reducing the salinity level.

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Dead fish causes alarm at Seekoei River estuary

April 18, 2019

An emergency application is due to be submitted to the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) for the breaching of the Seekoei estuary mouth at Paradise Beach, Jeffreys Bay.

The water level of the estuary has dropped to such an extent that fish have been dying in numbers.

“The water in the estuary has been evaporating rapidly because of the hot temperatures and strong winds,” Kouga Municipality’s Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said.

“Combined with this, there has been almost no inflow of fresh water because of the drought and numerous farm dams that trap water in the catchment area.

“This has caused the salinity of the water to shoot up alarmingly.”

He said tests conducted last week indicated that the salt content was more than twice of that of sea water.

“Estuarine life simply cannot survive under those circumstances.”

He said the situation had been reported to DEDEAT and that an emergency application for the breaching of the mouth was being finalised for submission to them in line with section 30 of the National Environmental Management Act.

“It may sound strange to want to add sea water to the estuary to decrease the salt content of the latter.

“The salinity of the estuary is, however, so much higher than that of the ocean at the moment that the sea water will actually help to lower the salt content of the lagoon,” he explained.

“Ideally, what we need, is strong rains to boost the inflow of fresh water from upstream, but that is beyond our control. While the inflow of sea water will not solve the problem completely, it will help to decrease the salinity levels.”

Benson said the Seekoei Estuary Management Plan, that was developed by the municipality and is currently awaiting final approval by the East Cape Environmental Affairs MEC, would help to address this dilemma in the long-term.

“We have been frustrated by the delays in obtaining final approval for the implementation of the plan, but expect to meet with the DEDEAT before the end of the month.”

He said a further frustration was the failure by the national Department of Water and Sanitation to address the many illegal dams in the catchment area.

“The Department recently indicated that they were aware of more than 100 illegal farm dams in the Kouga region, but they have been slow to take action. Once these illegal dams have been removed, there will be more fresh water flowing into the system.”

He cautioned residents against eating the fish.

Causeway not only a risk to motorists, Mayor warns

December 22, 2016

The Kouga Council has set out to find a permanent solution to the controversial causeway that connects Paradise Beach to Jeffreys Bay.

This follows a warning from experts that the unlawful breaching of the Seekoei River mouth has been increasing the safety risk to home-owners of properties located along the estuary.

Aston Bay

Aston Bay

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said the problems at the causeway went back 40 years and that it was high time the municipality took these problems seriously and started working towards a permanent solution.

“We have great sympathy for residents who are concerned about their vehicles rusting when the water levels are high. We also understand that it is an inconvenience to use the alternative gravel road.

“Our preliminary investigations have, however, shown that while breaching the mouth helps to bring temporary relief to motorists, it actually compounds the problem by putting houses along the embankments at a higher risk of flooding,” she said.

She explained that the natural opening-and-closing cycle of the mouth had been severely disturbed because of the haphazard manner in which the causeway had been constructed. This, combined with the artificial breaching of the mouth, has further led to the extreme siltation of the estuary.

“It is this natural cycle which keeps the marine and plant life in the estuary healthy. The bad stench which is at times prevalent at the estuary is most often the result of fish and vegetation dying and rotting because the cycle has been broken,” she said.

“It is also because of this that the mouth no longer breaches naturally when the water level reaches a certain point.

“We’ve seen what happens to the causeway when there is heavy rain. More disturbing, is the increased risk that the embankments – where houses are located – will flood because the estuary has become too shallow to hold the water as it should.”

She said the Council has prioritised finding a permanent solution to the problem but cautioned that this could take time.

“We are, therefore, also looking at mitigating measures which can be introduced in the meantime to reduce the risk and inconvenience to motorists.”

She said the Council wanted to plea with residents to refrain from breaching the mouth unlawfully.

“As frustrating as it is, research shows that the short-term gains of breaching the mouth are grossly outweighed by the long-term negative effects.”

She said the municipality was already in consultation with the Department of Environmental Affairs about measures which could help reduce the risk to vehicles in the short term.

“We promise that we will be keeping residents updated about developments. This is a tough situation and there is no quick permanent fix. We will, however, not turn a blind eye to what is happening here. We have a responsibility to keep our people and their property safe.”

Roads closed due to rain

August 8, 2012

The heavy rainfalls experienced over the past few days has caused more damage to the road infrastructure in all the towns in Kouga and more pot holes have appeared, particularly in St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay.

Aapies Draai was closed yesterday afternoon to traffic and it still closed this morning. Aston bay residents have been particularly hard hit with the latest rains as Dolphin Drive as well as Swan Road (two of the main access roads) have huge potholes and have become unsafe to drive on, especially at night.

Elsewhere in the Kouga, both roads to Oyster bay were closed yesterday due to the roads becoming dangerous for motorists to drive on.

The following roads and mountain passes in South Africa are closed to traffic due to severe weather:

1. Eastern Cape – R61 Route, ROAD CLOSED between Queenstown and Cofimvaba due to snow / ice

2. Eastern Cape – N9 Route, ROAD OPEN between Graaff-Reinet and Middelburg -Lootsberg Pass

3. Eastern Cape – R61 Route, ROAD OPEN between Graaff-Reinet and Cradock – Wapadsberg Pass

4. Western Cape – ROADS CLOSED between Ashton & Montague, Montague & Touwsrivier, Prince Albert & Oudtshoorn, and Montague & Oudtshoorn – Snowfall

5. Eastern Cape- ROAD CLOSED between Whittlesea and Seymour – Nico Malan Pass – Snowfall

6. Eastern Cape – ROAD CLOSED between Elliot and Barkly East – Barkly Pass – Snowfall

7. Kwazulu Natal – ROAD CLOSED AGAIN KZN / Free State N3 Route, Van Reenens Pass – Snowfall.

8. Free State – R712 Route, ROAD CLOSED between Qwa-Qwa and Clarens due to snow

9. Western Cape – R328 Swartberg Pass, ROAD CLOSED between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert due to snow

10. Western Cape – R62 Route, ROAD CLOSED between Ashton and Montagu due to flooding

11. Free State – R74 Route, ROAD CLOSED – Oliviershoek Pass between Harrismith and Bergville due to snow

12. KZN – R617 Route, ROAD CLOSED between Swartberg and Underberg due to #snow

13. KZN / Eastern Cape – N2 Route, ROAD CLOSED between Kokstad and Mount Ayliff due to snow

14. Free State – R34 Route, ROAD CLOSED between Vrede and Memel due to snow (note: this is a Van Reenens Pass closure detour route)