‘Drought not over’

2016-12-12 11:07
Dam levels last year in December compared to dam levels this year.

Dam levels last year in December compared to dam levels this year. (Graphics24)

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Holidaymakers are urged to continue to use water sparingly throughout the festive season as the drought continues its firm grip on KwaZulu-Natal.

The demand for water supply is foreseen to slightly increase during the festive season considering that schools are closed, some people have taken Christmas leave and most municipal pools are open.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality will ensure that there is a balance in their system and that there is adequate staff and resources throughout the festive season.

“We have arranged a duty roster for staff to respond in adequate time through the festive period,” Mafumbatha said.

She added that they are not too concerned that the water supply would need to be increased as trends from previous years show that the demand is balanced.

“While a lot of visitors enter the city, a lot of residents also leave the city. Some of the bigger industrialists shut down at the end of the year which releases a huge capacity of water to serve our residents and visitors.

“The Department of Water Affairs have already instructed that extra water supply will not be given to municipalities over the festive season and that implemented restrictions will remain,” she said.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said they have also issued a reminder to all consumers, including arriving holidaymakers, that the 15% water restrictions still remains in all areas where Umgeni supplies water.

“Water restrictions will continue to remain in place as we are still in the state of drought. We are pleading with holidaymakers to adhere to the 15% water restrictions in place in the Umgungundlovu and surrounding areas,” said Harichunder.

Umgeni Water supplies water to an estimated four million consumers in uMgungundlovu District, Pietermaritzburg, much of Durban and part of Harry Gwala District.

Harichunder explained that the water restrictions were implemented as a strategy to prevent possible failure of Midmar and Albert Falls dams.

Failure of these dams would lead to them drying up, which would result in dire consequences for the economies of Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

Currently Midmar Dam is at 53%, Mearns Weir 63%, Nagle 65%, Albert Falls 27% and Inanda 66%.

Mafumbatha said they have been told that even if there is adequate rainfall, it would still take at least a year to recover from the drought.

“Holidaymakers and the city’s residents are urged to use water sparingly,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  drought

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