Rain provides little relief to drought

2016-11-02 06:05
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THE incessant wet weather the city has been experiencing recently has had little impact on the Mgeni system, which, according to Umgeni Water, remains in a state of stress as a result of receiving below average rainfall for the past 30 months.

All six dams that form part of the Mgeni system, Mearns, Spring Grove, Midmar, Albert Falls, Nagle and Inanda, are substantially lower than they were a year ago.

“Mgeni System supplies water to all of uMgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg, about 80% of eThekwini and north of Ugu [middle South Coast]. As a result of scarce water resources within this system, mandatory water restrictions of 15% have been implemented. Umgeni Water, for its part, has reduced potable water production by 15% at all of its water treatment plants within Mgeni System. The level of Midmar Dam has been stabilised at mid-40% through transfer of water into it from Spring Grove Dam,” said Shami Harichunder from Umgeni.

Harichunder said restrictions remain imperative because without it could result in the failure of the largest dam in Mgeni System, Albert Falls, and Midmar by September 2017 and Inanda by October 2018.

“This possible situation has been averted through the application of water restrictions. Rainfall received last week in the vicinity of Midmar Dam was either outside of the dam’s catchment or it did not produce adequate run-off to make a difference to the level of this dam.”

He explained that the failure of a dam occurs when a dam runs dry therefore water-saving and conservation remains very important as the drought is far from over.

Hazelmere Dam received an estimated 100mm of rain in the past month which has helped stabilise the dam level in mid-60%.

“A year ago to the day [27 October] the level of Hazelmere Dam was at 27%, precipitating a crisis that resulted in water shortages and application of mandatory 50% water restrictions that affected households and businesses in the Hazelmere Water Treatment Plant supply area,” said Harichunder.

Since then, all restrictions have since been removed in the supply area of Hazelmere Water Treatment which supply Verulam, Waterloo, La Mercy, Sea Tides, Ballito, Umhlali and parts of Ndwedwe. Water restrictions were in place for two years.

Umgeni Water’s production of potable water at Hazelmere has also returned to pre-drought period levels.

SIDEBAR

27 October 2016 vs 28 October 2015

• Mearns: 44% (58%)

• Spring Grove: 42% (90%)

• Midmar: 48% (53%)

• Albert Falls: 24% (47%)

• Nagle: 69% (74%)

• Inanda 63% (86%)

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