Recent rain ‘fell in the wrong places’

2016-11-03 09:36
Rainy weather in the Pietermaritzburg CBD.

Rainy weather in the Pietermaritzburg CBD. (File)

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It has rained in all the wrong places and more water restrictions could be on the cards.

Despite the last few weeks of wet weather in the province, Umgeni Water has said the catchment system is still under “serious stress” as the rain did not fall where it was needed, leaving the Midmar Dam at 47% and Albert Falls Dam three quarters empty.

There is a ray of hope in South African Weather Service prediction that “most” local and international forecasting systems show South Africa can expect “wetter conditions” this summer season.

The report said warmer conditions predicted in previous forecasts appeared to have subsided, suggesting that the country could see a rain-filled summer.

However, the report warned the forecast was not set in stone and “uncertainty” of the forecasts remained “a concern”.

Factors such as the possible development of a La Niña (increased chances of wetter conditions) have not yet strongly manifested, and this casts doubt on the accuracy of the forecasting systems.

“It is very important to keep monitoring the developments that may alter or strengthen the current expectations for the summer season,” said the report.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said if the rain materialised, it would be “most welcome” as the Mgeni System was experiencing a lot of stress.

He said the upper Mgeni System (Mearns, Midmar and Spring Grove dams) did not have the capacity to meet the demands of the people it supplied.

Harichunder said Albert Falls Dam in the Lower Mgeni System was in a critical state. “We are extremely concerned. There is no chance that the 15% water restrictions will be lifted,” he said. “The situation has not improved at all. It has rained in the wrong places, and not in the catchment areas of the dams.”

He said most of the rain had fallen in areas where the sewer system carried it all out to sea. “Every two weeks, the Mgeni System is reviewed,” he said.

“We will be meeting on November 11 to see if we need to increase the water restrictions, or leave them as is. He said, at the last meeting, it was decided to leave the restrictions as they were because predictions of a rainy summer seemed hopeful.

“Unfortunately, this has not materialised,” he said.

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