Restrictions up 10% if dam levels drop more

2016-02-03 10:29

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Pietermaritzburg - Water restrictions could be increased to 25% if the drought continues and the current 15% restriction does not save enough water.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said on Tuesday that although water restrictions will be implemented, there was still concern over the level of water in the Mgeni System.

With Midmar Dam at 46,83%, Harichunder said that if the 15% water cut backs discussed last month at the Joint Operations Committee do not work, water could be cut by 25%. “Midmar’s levels have increased since last week, but not to a great degree,” he said.

“Spring Grove Dam is at 78,78% but it is a smaller dam and makes little difference.

“Mearns Dam is at 105% and is overflowing, which is an unusual situation. However, if it wasn’t for the transfer of water from the dam to Lions River, into Msunduzi and then Midmar, things would be a lot more difficult.”

Harichunder said that Albert Falls Dam is at 36% and “very unhealthy”.

“The implementation of the 15% water cut backs will happen. However, we are still in a situation where there is cause for a great deal of concern.

“By the end of the year, if the spring rains do not come, and we have not managed to save water, both Midmar and Albert Falls will be empty.

“It is nearly the end of summer and March will signal the beginning of autumn.

“There is a strong possibility that there will be no rain for six months, until September this year.”

Harichunder said it is “extremely unlikely” that sufficient rains will come before September.

“We are heading toward difficult times for at least the next eight months and people need to be mindful of their water usage or else the cutbacks will increase.”

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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