Slowly slowly … but not even half full yet

2017-03-01 06:01

GREYTOWN residents have, for the past two years, learnt to live with severe water restrictions as the area remains in the grip of a serious and ongoing drought.

Many residents are no longer dependent on Umvoti Municipality for their daily water supply as bore-holes have been installed and every drop of rain is caught and used through a series of tanks, pipes and pumps by some. The water tanks that dotted the town have, to a large extent, been removed — or vandalised. But there are still many residents who are dependent on the daily switch on from 5 am to 10 am.

As can be seen from the photographs, two years ago, Lake Merthley was more beach than water. Two years ago in February, Lake Merthley was 19% full and hovered round that mark for most of 2015 and 2016. There has been a slight improvement as can be seen in the second photograph, On Monday this week, the lake stood at 44,39% full. But it still has a very long way to go before there can be any thought of restrictions being lifted.

A reminder too to residents is that the lake area is still closed to the public.

One positive aspect is that the rainfall recorded by Murray Mason in the vicinity of the lake in February was 211 mm, as compared to last year’s February total of 65 mm!

Reverting to the negative — the infamous Craigieburn pipeline — there is still no comment from Umzinyathi District Municipality or Umvoti Municipality on the prospects of this pipe dream ever actually happening. So nothing new — but a few historical facts. The Craigieburn pipeline was part of a 2011 business plan drawn up by the Department of Water and Sanitation and Umzinyathi to ensure the bulk supply of water to Greytown and district for the next 40 years. Last year, a spokesman for Umzinyathi admitted that the original cost of 253 million had escalated to R489 million, excluding the R6,6 million paid by the department last year to accelerate the completion of the non-existent Craigieburn pipeline!

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