KZN drought far from over

2016-07-26 10:34
A view taken on November 9, 2015 shows the dried up Mfolozi River in Ulundi, 159 km North of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, as a sever drought affects South Africa. (AFP)

A view taken on November 9, 2015 shows the dried up Mfolozi River in Ulundi, 159 km North of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, as a sever drought affects South Africa. (AFP)

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Pietermaritzburg - The good rain received over the weekend does not mean the drought is over, authorities have warned.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said there had been little impact on the levels of major dams.

He said Midmar Dam recorded 48,8 mm of rainfall over the two days, which was the most rain received in six months, but the dam level remained at a stable 45%.

Harichunder said the Midmar level could be unchanged as it is a large dam and rain run-off would make “no noticeable difference”.

“Much of the rain already received has been absorbed into parched ground. Consequently, there was no or little run-off into the dam through the river feeder system,” he said.

Harichunder added that it would take at least 48 hours for the bulk of run-off to make its way into the dam.

“It is estimated that on average between 10% and 20% of rain makes its way into a river system. Therefore, a clearer picture of the impact of rainfall on the level of Midmar Dam will emerge in 48 hours,” he said.

Msunduzi Water and Sanitation manager Brenden Sivparsad said although any rainfall was welcome, “it is still business as usual”.

He said the province remained in a severe drought crisis and teams were still planning for the worst case scenario. “We really do appreciate the rain, but consumers must not be misled into thinking the rain has resolved the crisis. People must know that we have been receiving well below average rain for a year, and three days of rain is not enough,” Sivparsad said.

He added that rainfall did not necessarily equate to an increase in the supply of water.

“In fact, some areas are without water today [yesterday],” he said.

Vulindlela and surrounding areas were without water yesterday after a failure on both the Msunduzi municipality and Umgeni Water systems.

“A power supply-related problem was experienced at two of Umgeni Water’s water plants in Groenkloof and Midmar. This affected Umgeni Water’s ability to treat and supply water,” said Harichunder. The electrical fault left several areas in Pietermaritzburg — including Edendale, Bisley, Imbali, Willowfountain, Prestbury, Ambleton and Montrose — without water.

The Climate Studies, Modelling and Environmental Health Group of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research predicted the good rains would continue in many parts of the Umgeni Water operational area for 48 hours, and that the skies would begin clearing tomorrow.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Rainfall received at other
Umgeni Water dams over
the past 48 hours:

•Nagle Dam: 54,2 mm

•Inanda Dam: 57,0 mm

•Albert Falls Dam: 49,2 mm

•Hazelmere Dam: 42,5 mm

The level of Nagle Dam was at 65,10% yesterday, unchanged from Friday.

Albert Falls Dam was at 27,58% yesterday, up from 27% on Friday.

The level of Inanda Dam remained unchanged at 68%, while Hazelmere Dam dropped by 0,27% and stands at 42,73%.

If the rain continued on the South Coast, the Umzinto, Nungwane and EJ Smith dams would begin overflowing as these, like Mearns and Spring Grove dams, are small dams that fill up rapidly, Umgeni Water said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  drought  |  kzn

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