KZN could join the list of drought disaster areas

KwaZulu-Natal’s dams managed by Umgeni Water are critically low due to insufficient rainfall.

During a media briefing last week, Umgeni Water warned that there are serious low water levels in dams, which ultimately supplies water to an estimated six million consumers in uMgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg, Durban, iLembe, Middle South Coast (Ugu) and Ixopo (Harry Gwala DM), Randburg Sun reports.

READ MORE: Drought-stricken Cape Town’s Day Zero moves to July

The media briefing was part of Umgeni Water’s intensified efforts to create awareness that water shortages still prevail in the Mgeni system – the largest system in Umgeni Water’s operational area.

Albert Falls augments Nagle Dam which, in turn, supplies water to Durban Heights Waterworks for treatment and supply to some of Durban’s reservoirs. An estimated two million consumers are dependent on Albert Falls for water.

The Mgeni system comprises of Mearns Weir, Spring Grove Dam and Midmar Dam in its upper part, and in its lower part Albert Falls, Nagle and Inanda dams. It ultimately supplies water to an estimated four million consumers in uMgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg, Durban and in the north of Ugu.

Of great concern to Umgeni Water is the level of Albert Falls, a strategically important dam that has consistently remained at under 30% for at least two years. A complication is the high evaporation rate of surface water at Albert Falls, and current high temperatures are not assisting in preservation of water resources.

Albert Falls.

Albert Falls.

Inadequacy of water resources in Albert Falls continues to weigh heavily on the Mgeni system and is preventing easing or lifting of 15% water restrictions. These restrictions are now in their second year. Albert Falls, at 23%, is the lowest it has been in 20 years.

While they have seen an improvement of rain in Midmar Dam’s catchments, the dam levels remain significantly low preventing Umgeni Water from lifting the water restrictions.

During a Mgeni system Joint Operations Committee JOC meeting, it was decided that water restrictions of 15% in about 80% of Durban, all of Pietermaritzburg and all of uMgungundlovu will remain in place.

Drought-stricken Cape Town’s Day Zero moves to July

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.

today in print