A dry summer in store

2015-09-08 09:38
A buoy floating in a sea of sand shows how much the water levels at Midmar Dam have dropped.

A buoy floating in a sea of sand shows how much the water levels at Midmar Dam have dropped. (Ian Carbutt)

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WITH weather forecasters predicting a particularly dry summer, concerns over the amount of water stored for KwaZulu-Natal are rising.

Yesterday, South African Weather Service prediction research scientist Cobus Olivier said although weather predictions could not be exact, the rain prediction for summer in KZN “is not looking good”.

Olivier said although KZN would have “normal to above average rainfall” for the beginning of spring, KZN would have less rain later in the season and even less going into summer.

“While we will have spring rains on the East Coast of the country during spring, it is not looking very good for summer, going into October, November and December and onwards.”

A document provided by the South African Weather Service said there is an indication that “well above normal rainfall conditions may occur over the eastern parts of the country in spring” but late spring indicated “below normal rainfall”.

The forecast predicted “mixed conditions” for the country during summer but was not specific to each province.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said if the weather predictions were accurate and the dry weather continued, restrictions that had been imposed in certain districts would remain and even be increased.

“As of today, Hazelmere dam is critically low and water levels are sitting at 30%. If the forecast is correct, restrictions will be increased to 50% and in effect Umgeni will have no choice but to cut drinking water production by 50%.

“This means we will only be able to provide the municipalities who use our water with 50% less than what is usually given to them.”

He said that although Msunduzi and surrounding areas would not be affected by the drought, the areas that would suffer the most would be northern eThekwini and the Ilembe district.

Harichunder said it was an “extremely difficult situation” and requested the public be mindful of their water usage.

“People need to realise that water needs to be conserved and we cannot escape the facts of climate change and how it is affecting our water.

“If we use water sparingly now, there will be water for the future, but at present, even with the drought, water is being taken for granted.”

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said they were “concerned” about the current dry conditions the province was experiencing.

“The municipality will be embarking on various programmes to educate and emphasise to people the importance of using water sparingly.

“Strategies to be implemented will be communicated in due course,” said Madonda

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  weather  |  water

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