KZN dam levels now critically low

2016-06-08 06:00

IN the midst of KwaZulu-Natal’s crippling drought, the knock-on effect of critically low dam levels in the Midlands could have severe impacts on both Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

This comes as Umgeni Water warned that normal rainfall is only predicted for the end of this year.

The level of Albert Falls Dam has dropped dramatically to 31%.

As the province undergoes stringent water restrictions in an attempt to stabilise the situation, Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said in a statement that the organisation was “concerned” about the amount of water left in Albert Falls dam.

He said although Albert Falls is a holding dam receiving water from Midmar, Midmar’s low levels mean Albert Falls has a reduced amount released into it.

“Albert Falls is the main source of supply to Nagle Dam and a significant part of Durban receives its water from Nagle,” he said

If Albert Falls Dam continues to drop there will be severe “implications for Nagle Dam” and ultimately Midmar Dam, which pumps water into Albert Falls.

“The need for strict water conservation by the public has become a necessity,” he said.

Harichunder said if people do not conserve more water, the effects will be seen in the diminishing levels of Midmar, Albert Falls and Nagle dams.

He said this will cause many parts of Pietermaritzburg and Durban to face “acute water shortages”.

He added that predictions by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said below average rainfall is expected to continue until the end of 2016.

The prolonged drought has added to the rapid decrease in KZN dam levels and has meant that water restrictions have had to be implemented such as those of 15% in the lower and upper Mgeni system.

On Sunday, Midmar Dam sat at 45% while Spring Grove Dam was at 72% and Mearns Dam at 31%.

“Water is being pumped from Spring Grove and Mearns dams to augment supply in Midmar Dam,” said Harichunder.

“Spring Grove and Mearns are small dams that deplete quickly. All three of these dams remain in a state of stress as there has been little rainfall in their catchments over the past 20 months.

“The level of Albert Falls Dam sat at 31%, the lowest it has been in 20 years, while Nagle Dam was at 68% and Inanda Dam was at 74%.”

He said that if water conservation is not applied, the level of Midmar Dam - the main source of water for Pietermaritzburg - will continue to drop.

With the lack of rain and no decrease in water usage by the public, Midmar Dam levels will continue to fall, he said.

“It is important for consumers to realise and accept that, at this stage, the water situation is serious and it will get worse if the rains do not come and if consumer behaviour does not change.”

Harichunder said Hazelmere Dam levels are stable at 47%.

“Mandatory water restrictions of 50% remain in place in areas that are supplied by the Hazelmere Water Treatment Works,” he said. - Reporter.

On Sunday, Midmar Dam sat at 45% while Spring Grove Dam was at 72% and Mearns Dam at 31%

Mandatory water restrictions of 50% remain in place in areas that are supplied by the Hazelmere Water Treatment Works

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