Communities asked to continue saving water

2017-06-15 06:01

UMGENI Water will continue to intensify campaigns aimed at encouraging KZN communities to save water despite the recent heavy rains in major parts of the province.

This emerged at a meeting held at Umgeni Water in Pietermaritzburg last Thursday to access water resource availability in major parts of KwaZulu-Natal as part of initiatives to monitor and manage the effects of one of the worst droughts in living memory.

The meeting was convened by the Mgeni system Joint Operations Committee.

The committee, established at the height of drought, created water shortages in the Mgeni system, has as its members: the Department of Water and Sanitation, KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Umgeni Water, eThekwini Metro, Msunduzi Local Municipality, Ugu District Municipality, uMgungundlovu District Municipality and KZN Department of Public Works.

In a media statement, Umgeni Water said its operational area water resource availability is strong and there are not concerns over shortages occurring in the winter months and beyond.

In the north of Durban, Hazelmere Dam is at 120, 92% and in iLembe, iMvutshane Dam that supplies Maphumulo is at 100, 57%.

Midmar Dam was at 81, 14%; Albert Falls at 34, 29%, Nagle Dam at 89, 96%; Inanda Dam at 68, 44%; Spring Dam at 87, 13%, and Mearns Weir at 38, 64%.

“The dam that remains worst-affected by water shortages is Albert Falls, which is largest in Umgeni Water’s operational area.

“Rainfall received in May had no impact on these dams because most of it occurred on the coast. In order for the level of Albert Falls to improve significantly, at least three seasons of above-average rainfall is required or Midmar Dam has to spill.

“Apart from Inanda and Spring Grove dams, levels of the four other dams in the Mgeni system are up on the corresponding period in 2016. However, combined water resources in the entire system are not adequate to meet the full demands of the four municipalities.”

In the Middle South Coast, Umzinto Dam is at 100, 28%; Nungwane Dam at 101, 07%; EJ Smith Dam at 100, 05% and Mhlabatshane Dam at 99, 68%.

In Ixopo, Home Farm Dam is at 103, 78%. All the dams in Hazelmere, Maphumulo, Middle South Coast and Ixopo are at significantly higher levels than they had been at a year ago.

Umgeni Water said prospects for good rains at the end of winter did not look promising, as has been forecast by the South African Weather Service and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Projections by SAWS and CSIR are that rains, expected at well below average, are only likely to occur in September or in the first quarter of 2018.

Glimmer of good news is that earlier predictions of El Nino’s return later this year is now unlikely to occur. This then supports SAWS and CSIR predictions of rains in September or in early 2018.

Corporate Stakeholder manager of Umgeni Water Shami Harichunder, said water conservation initiatives would continue because water currently available would have to last until the dry spell ends.

“Rainfall predictions are what they are: predictions. Our objective is to ensure that water available lasts until dams fill up again.

“In order to effectively execute this, water restrictions and reduced consumption are imperative. We have had discussions about easing restrictions, but a decision was taken to stay with 15%.

“If we make changes at this stage and rains do not material, it is possible that restrictions of 20% would have to be implemented in the new yearr. The sacrifices we make now could ease hardship in future.”

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

It supplies drinking water, through the four municipalities, to an estimated four million consumers in uMgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg, Durban and the north of Ugu.

The meeting of the Mgeni system Joint Operations Committee was briefed comprehensively on dam levels and rainfall forecast for the next three months.

A decision to intensify messages to communities that water shortages are still prevalent in the Mgeni system was taken at a meeting.

Water restrictions of 15% have been implemented in Pietermaritzburg, uMgungundlovu and about 80% of Durban.

At the same time, Umgeni Water has introduced water rationing through a cut of 15% in potable water production at its water treatment plants at Midmar, Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

The amount of potable water Umgeni Water supplies to these municipalities has also been reduced by 15%.

- Supplied.










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