Dams full but water concerns persist

2009-02-09 00:00

Despite the dams in the Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas being more than 100% full, there is still concern about water shortages in the greater Durban area.

Corporate stakeholder manager of Umgeni Water, Shami Harichunder released statistics showing that Albert Falls Dam is only 82% full compared to Mearns Dam which is 119% full, with Midmar Dam, Nagle Dam and Hazelmere Dam at 101% and Inanda Dam at 102% full.

The Midmar Dam catchment, which supplies water to Howick and Pietermaritzburg, rose from 96% to 101% in three days due to the heavy rainfall that was measured at 70 millimetres last week.

Due to the already saturated catchment, rainwater runoffs caused additional increases in water levels together with the additional water that is being pumped from Mooi River.

However, Albert Falls Dam, the primary source of water for Durban, is not yet full and there is concern that it may result in a water shortage for Umgeni Water.

“Ideally, to minimise the risk of water shortages, the dam needs to be full by the end of the rainy season,” said Harichunder.

“The storage in this dam has also benefited from the rains that fell in the past few days. However, with the large water consumption that is indirectly drawn from this dam, it is not expected to become full this season unless high rainfalls are experienced.”

Harichunder said that with Midmar Dam full, all spills will flow into Albert Falls Dam and provide contribution to its storage.

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