Water usage higher than before, in spite of drought

2016-03-16 06:00

MUNICIPALITIES supplied with water by Umgeni Water are using more water than before, in spite of the drought.

Umgeni Water on Friday expressed concern about instances where the water drawn by municipal water services authorities in the provice had been higher even than before restrictions were introduced.

The levels of most dams in the Umgeni Water operational area are much lower than they had been a year ago due to the drought.

Umgeni Water said below-average rainfall in the Midmar and Albert Falls catchments remained of concern - both dams are at their lowest levels in 35 years.

Midmar Dam is a key source of water for Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg), uMgungundlovu, eThekwini and parts of Ugu.

“As a result of the deteriorating situation relating to the amount of water in Midmar and Albert Falls, cuts in water usage amounting to 15% have been implemented in the supply areas of Midmar Water Treatment Works,” said Umgeni Water.

The reduction was necessary to avert a crisis situation that could have occurred by end 2016.

“If good rains are not realised, demand remains at its present level and high temperatures continue, Midmar and Albert Falls dams could reach dead storage by end 2016, meaning there will be no water left in these dams.”

Umgeni Water has urged all consumers in the Mgeni system supply areas to reduce their water consumption by 15%.

If water savings are successful, there will be enough water in Midmar and Albert Falls to last until the next rains come.

In the Hazelmere and Ixopo systems, 50% water restrictions are in place to manage the water resources.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) also appealed to government to lead by example and pay off the R5,4 billion debt that it owes for water across municipalities.

“This will encourage private sector and households that have the means to pay to settle the balance of R115 billion that they are owing,” said Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu.

Mahlangu said that non-payment of debts as revealed in the South African Local Government Association (Salga) 2015 Water Services Municipal Benchmarking report is rendering municipalities inefficient and hampers their ability to deliver quality service. He said water conservation can be achieved through leak repair projects, intensifying communication and education campaigns and implementing credit control measures that cater for indigent households. - Reporter.

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