Lack of rain could see dams run dry

2014-12-15 00:00

THE dams pumping water to Pietermaritzburg will run dangerously low if there is not enough rainfall by the end of January.

Corporate stakeholder manager at Umgeni Water, Shami Harichunder, said however that there was no immediate threat.

Areas that are fed by Hazelmere Dam, up the North Coast, already face severe restrictions.

“There is adequate water to reach the immediate needs of consumers [in Pietermaritzburg],” he said.

Midmar Dam, the main dam that supplies water to the city, was 67,1% full, according to a December 12 reading.

The water level at Hazelmere Dam, which supplies northern eThekwini and iLembe District Municipality, reached 40% last week.

Rain has been scarce. Rainfall, as measured by D.V. Harris Water Works, was just 59 mm in November from a monthly average of 139 mm, while at Darvill Water Works, it was only 40 mm from an average 94 mm.

Last year the water overflowed at Hazelmere Dam.

The water level at Hazelmere Dam is falling, on average, one percent every seven days.

“This is a result of a combination of factors including: reduced inflow due to lower than normal rainfall, high temperatures, increased evaporation and increased demand.

“The actual Hazelmere Dam rainfall totals received for October and November 2014 are 46 mm and 67 mm respectively. The corresponding monthly past long-term averages for October and November are 101 mm and 100 mm respectively,” he said.

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