Rain, rain, but not enough for Midmar Dam

2016-11-30 06:01

DESPITE the recent soaking spring rain, water restrictions are here to stay for the foreseeable future as Midmar Dam is still five percent lower than it was this time last year.

This is evidence that the province is still suffering from the drought.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder issued a statement in which he said the Mgeni Water System, the largest in the Umgeni Water operational area, was in a storage deficit of 107 Mcm (million cubic metres).

Harichunder said the deficit is a direct cause of the past two seasons of below-average rainfall in the system.

Midmar Dam’s water level is now at 50%, which is a two percent increase over the past week.

He said this was attributed to run-off into the dam, weekend rainfall in the catchment of about 30 mm and transfer of water into it from Spring Grove Dam.

The level of Albert Falls Dam stands at 27%.

This dam supplies large parts of Durban, and its current level is of concern to Umgeni Water, said Harichunder.

A year ago the level of Albert Falls was 45%.

The levels of other major dams in the Mgeni system as of November 17, 2016 were: Nagle 72% and Inanda 65%.

The levels of these dams are also lower than they were a year ago. A year ago the level of Inanda­ Dam was 85% and Nagle 77%.

These dams supply the water needs of Durban, and Inanda Dam also contributes to the water­ needs of the middle South Coast (Umzinto, Scottburgh, Pennington, Kelso) through the South Coast pipeline.

Harichunder said much of the “torrential rains that were received in the past two weeks occurred in areas outside of catchments”.

“This does not assist dams as rain has to fall in dams’ catchments to impact positively on dam levels.

“Rains that fall in urban areas generally make their way into drainage systems and ultimately the sea,” he said.

He said weather forecasters at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have predicted that good rains, possibly above average, are expected at the end of 2016 and or in the first quarter of 2017.

He said the amount of water currently in dams will have to last until then.

Harichunder added the Hazelmere system (Hazelmere Dam) has returned to normal after a two-year drought and accompanying stringent­ water restrictions which peaked at 40%.

Water restrictions in the supply area of Hazelmere­ Water Treatment Plant have been lifted.

The areas are Verulam, Waterloo, Ballito, Umhlali, parts of Ndwedwe, Sea Tides and La Mercy.

Harichunder said the situation at Ixopo has also improved, with Ixopo Dam at 63%, a 40% improvement from a year ago.

- Reporter.

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