Heavy rains make little difference to dams

2016-05-12 06:00
Hazelmere Dam after the heavy rains. Photo: supplied

Hazelmere Dam after the heavy rains. Photo: supplied

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PEOPLE living in areas across the KwaZulu-Natal province welcomed the heavy downpour over the weekend, but it did little to raise the level of the hard-hit Hazelmere Dam.

Hazelmere is fed by the Mdloti River and is responsible for providing water for much of the North Coast area.

Since the drought intensified earlier this year, water restrictions were put in place throughout the region and residents are desperate for relief.

According to Umgeni Water spokesperson, Shami Harichunder, the level of Hazelmere has only increased by roughly 1% since last weekend’s rainfall.

This means that North Coast residents have to remain vigilant in saving water resources as the level of Hazelmere Dam stays critical.

While the heavy rain soaked the dusty streets of Tongaat, Verulam and Ballito, not enough rain fell in the dam’s water catchment area and Harichunder urges people to be mindful of the water they are using.

Hambanathi resident Nkosinathi Ndlovu said the rains, although needed, caused some flood damage to homes in the settlement as water cascaded down the unpaved streets.

“It rained hard all weekend and water was flowing fast past my house. Water was also leaking through my roof, so I had to put buckets down to try and catch it,” said Ndlovu, who added that some residents are still collecting their own water to wash with and drink.

With more rains expected later in the week, people continue to pray the dam level increases soon as residents, farmers and small businesses face the hard reality of further water restrictions.

Hazelmere Dam is still being supported by water transferred into it from the uThongathi River emergency scheme constructed by Umgeni Water about a year ago at a cost of R34 million to supplement water resources on the North Coast.

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