n Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Green engineering brings urban flood relief : environmental engineering

Volume 22, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



River engineering specialists Fourth Element Consulting have combined hydraulic engineering with green infrastructure to provide urgently needed flood relief in the Atlasville suburb of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.

Atlasville is a suburb of Boksburg just east of the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Gauteng. Transformation of the area began in the early 1970s, when a natural wetland was drained to allow development of a middle-class suburb for personnel employed at the newly established Atlas Aircraft Company and affiliated industries. The flow of the natural watercourse was confined in a narrow canal and named the Atlaspruit, and the surrounding wetland area was backfilled with subsoils and building rubble on which residential houses were constructed. At the same time the area immediately adjacent to the canal was established as a recreational park. With ongoing residential and industrial development upstream of Atlasville, however, there was an increase in the generation of run-off from the catchment. This continuously increased the volume of water carried in the canalised Atlaspruit during storm events. From February 2006 the canal was no longer adequate to carry the run-off from major storms, and flooding caused severe damage to adjacent properties and households. Residents were forced to leave their homes while repairs were undertaken. Sewers and stormwater drains backfilled and overflowed, presenting health hazards. Insurance cover was refused in some instances and property values fell substantially.

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