Rain - ‘no positive impact on Midmar level’

2016-02-03 06:00

IF water restrictions are not “implemented immediately” and the drought continues, Midmar dam will reach 10% by December, according to Umgeni Water.

Despite the downpours Pietermaritzburg experienced over the weekend, the recent rain has done little to alleviate the severe drought gripping the province.

It was reported on Monday by Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder that over the last 48 hours a good amount of rain had fallen in the main catchment areas of the Mgeni system, however, much more was needed to ward off the extreme dry conditions and shortages of water that the province was experiencing.

In Lincoln Meade rain measured in Spilsby Avenue by Christopher Merrett showed 21mm on Sunday and 44mm on Monday.

Merrett said the 65mm in 48 hours was over 10% of the entire rainfall recorded at the Lincoln Meade location for 2015.

Midmar catchment received a total of 41mm rainfall over the past 48 hours, however, this has “had no positive impact on the level of the dam”.

“The current level of the dam is 46,89%.

“Two days earlier it was at 46,94%, and a year ago to the day it was at 72,64%,” said Harichunder.

“Umgeni Water remains concerned at the rate at which this dam is reducing and if water-use restrictions are not implemented immediately and if the expected rains do not come, the dam could reach dead storage by the end of 2016,” he said.

“Dead storage in dams, which vary between five percent and 15%, means that all that is left in a dam is silt, which cannot be treated.”

Harichunder said it was estimated that there were four million consumers within the Mgeni system, which comprises households, businesses, industries and agriculture.

“As a result of the deteriorating situation­ caused by below-average rainfall, evaporation of water and unchanged demand, Umgeni Water has taken a decision to reduce potable water­ production in the Mgeni system by 15%,” said Harichunder.

“This was done to ensure that in the absence of rainfall, the water in these storage facilities lasts for as long as possible or until good rains come.”

Msunduzi, uMgungundlovu, eThekwini and part of the Ugu Municipality will reduce water usage and consumption by 15%.

“The rainfall situation unfortunately, does not look promising - latest predictions by the Council for Scientific­ and Industrial Research show that if good rains come, this is only likely to occur in about six months from now,” said Harichunder.

“However, this is during the winter season, a period when good rains generally do not occur.”

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said on Monday that the municipality had already started on drought awareness campaigns with branded taxis.

“There has also been drought awareness messages on posters published in The Witness and other newspapers last year.

“We are also using social media such as Facebook messages and e-mail signatures,” said Madonda.

“The water and sanitation section of Msunduzi has held meetings with the national department, Umgeni Water­ and other stakeholders to map a way forward,” said Madonda.

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