On the 24th of January 2023, the Public Utilities Corporation hosted a meeting discussing operationalisation of their Dam Break Emergency Plan for La Gogue. In attendance was the P.U.C La Gogue Project team and consultants, the Disaster Risk Management Division, Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency, Seychelles Public Transportation Corporation, Red cross and the Environment Assessment and Permit Section.
The La Gogue Dam Project, which began in 2018, aims to increase the raw water system’s capacity by raising the dam embankment by six meters, increasing the dam’s storage capacity by 60%. Before the extension the dam had a capacity of 1 million cubic metres, currently it has a unit of 1.6 million cubic metres when fully filled.
The main objective of the meeting was to operationalise the plan that the P.U.C had drafted which takes into account 3 main scenarios under various conditions:
- Dam break conditions.
- Incoming of the probable maximum flood.
- Incoming of 100 years of return period.
It was highlighted that 2 main areas are at risk. Coming from a model that P.U.C had produced of the flooded areas and houses at risk, the Anse Etoile and Glacis region on both sides of the raised saddles were identified as high risk. Discussion of P.U.C’s alarm stages and actions recommended for preparedness and responds if ever the 3 scenarios were to occur was also conducted.
In the end, it was agreed that P.U.C’s La Gogue Dam Break Emergency Plan was comprehensive and the way forward being the creation of a working group that will work on the operationalisation of responses in both areas. The first working group session is scheduled for Friday the 27th of January 2023, in attendance will be all members present during the meeting and additional stakeholders whose involvement would be requirement during the suggested scenarios.
It is expected that prior to the Dam reaching its full capacity the plan would be a hundred percent operational and exercises concerning responders, stakeholders and the public would have been conducted.