Durban residents warned as Hazelmere Dam reaches critically low levels

2015-06-24 17:32
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Durban - The acting head of eThekwini’s water and sanitation department, Richard Mngoma, on Wednesday warned Durban residents that if they did not use water sparingly, taps could run dry.  

Presenting a report to the council on the state of water in the province, Mngoma said levels at Hazelmere Dam had dropped to below 30%.

“As of Tuesday morning the dam was sitting at 29.6% capacity. We have been intensively engaging with authorities from the national office of water and sanitation, Umngeni Water and other water service authorities in the last two weeks.

“The daily demand is 40 megalitres per day. Hazelmere Dam has now reached critically low levels [less than 60 days supply] and therefore mandatory curtailments in production at Hazelmere waterworks have been implemented in order to mitigate the risk to supply assurance in the short term,” said Mngoma.  

He explained that the Hazelmere plant operators would from now on start pumping water once a day at an agreed time.

“Pumping started at 06:00 today [Wednesday], but this may change as the plan is implemented. Operators will continue to monitor the volumes hourly and the trigger for the pump will be shut off as and when the required target volumes per systems are met.

“There will be hourly logging of readings that will be done to ensure that pumps are shut off at the correct time. Once pumping has stopped, it may not resume until the following day. The users downstream really need to use water sparingly,” said Mngoma.

Some of the areas that will be affected daily include Waterloo, La Mercy, King Shaka Airport, Sibaya casino and the CBD.

'Heavy users will be charged extra'

He said the city could not rely on anticipated rains in August alone and that is why it had taken steps to reduce water loss.

“We have implemented intelligent water pressure management systems to assist to conserve water loss and reduce the frequency of bursts and leaks on our reticulation system.

"Heavy users will be charged extra for high consumption of water and some major consumers with storage facilities are now carting water from our filling point at Springfield and we are metering them.

“Inspections are being done more frequently so that vandalism and water loss is prevented. We have dedicated plumbing teams that are on standby to expedite repairs as soon as possible and additional staff have been made available to assist,” said Mngoma.

He said water restrictions to various areas had already started during the day or night to reduce the demand on the dam.

“We will also engage local ward councillors and ask them to assist in community meetings and public announcements,” he said.

'Avoid filling up bath tubs'

Giving tips to the public, he suggested that residents avoid washing their cars.

“We need to stop filling our pools. And avoid filling up bath tubs – use a shower instead.

“We need to avoid watering of gardens with a hose pipe. Rather use a watering can. We also urge residents to report the theft and vandalism of water infrastructure and take ownership of the water supply in your area,” said Mngoma.

Several DA councillors asked Mngoma what the city would do if it did not rain in August.

“There is a plan at a national level to bring water into eThekwini, but that plan will only materialise next year. If we stick to our intervention, we will make it to the end of the year,” said Mngoma. 

Report leaks and bursts to 08013 13 013 or e-mail

Read more on:    durban  |  drought  |  water

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