Umgeni upbeat despite low water level at dams

2015-01-07 00:00

AS summer temperatures flare water levels across the province’s dams have slowly been declining — but Pietermaritzburg residents may have little to worry about.

Umgeni Water this week moved to allay fears of a district-wide water shortage or restrictions.

High temperatures and little rain prompted a sharp decline in the water levels across the province with Hazelmere Dam at an all-time low.

Durban’s northern suburbs have been crippled by constant water restrictions because of the dwindling water level at Hazelmere.

The captured water is reducing by one percent every week and the dam is currently only 37,5% full. When a dam’s water level reaches 15%, it’s considered as “dead storage” meaning the water is no longer usable or becomes too expensive to treat.

Corporate stakeholder manager of Umgeni Water Shami Harichunder said the situation at Hazelmere is a cause for concern.

“There has been no significant rainfall in the Hazelmere system to reverse this trend. Weather experts predict good rainfalls only towards the end of February or March 2015,” Harichunder said.

A Verulam resident who asked not to be named and who is currently affected by the water restrictions, said that life without water is much worse than life without electricity. According to him, the water only comes on for a few hours during the day and sometimes at night with low pressure in between.

“It’s difficult to do everyday things like have a bath, make a cup of tea or wash your clothes. It really is unbearable sometimes especially when there is a big family in need of water to survive daily,” he said.

Harichunder said there are a number projects that Umgeni Water are exploring to deal with the shortage and that they are confident it will not drop below 15%. He also said that there are no immediate concerns over the Mgeni system that, amongst other regions, also supplies Pietermaritzburg.

The Mgeni system comprises Mearns Weir, Spring Grove Dam, Midmar Dam, Albert Falls Dam, Nagle Dam and Inanda Dam.

Barring Spring Grove, the other five dams have seen decreases since December 2013, when the dams were almost at full capacity. All six dams are however in good capacity.

“A dam should ideally be over 60% full,” Harichunder said.

“The Mgeni system has sufficient water to supply all needs, however, rains are always welcomed.”


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.