Six towns get water cuts at night as dams run low

2016-03-11 12:30

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Pietermaritzburg - Water shedding is now a reality for towns under the ­uMgungundlovu District ­Municipality water authority.

Areas such as Howick, Dalton, Hilton, Richmond, Camperdown and Wartburg will have their ­water shut off between 9 pm and 4 am each day.

uMgungundlovu (uMDM) mayor Yusuf Bhamjee held a press briefing yesterday where he discussed plans to conserve ­water.

“People do not believe that ­water restrictions will be ­implemented,” said Bhamjee.

“Restrictions go hand-in-hand with awareness and this is a ­matter of life and death,” he said.

Midmar Dam’s level has ­decreased by almost 60% in just three years from 101% in March 2014 to 46,17% in March this year.

As of January this year uMgungundlovu is using 17 million litres of water a day while the proposed 15% cutback demands that just 14 million litres be used each day.

uMDM have resolved that the 15% will be saved by implementing fines for high end water consumers, door to door inspections and the fixing of water leaks, the installation of water restricters on defaulters’ meters and shutting off water from 9 pm to 4 am.

Bhamjee added that ­businesses who did not pay their water bills would be cut off altogether until they made payment.

Installation of water flow restricters is set to start later this month in the uMDM, with different restricters used depending on the water flow of each house.

He said although the cut backs were necessary, the municipality expected resistance from citizens who may think the water restrictions were an inconvenience.

“The below-average rainfall over the past 30 months is ­worrying and has resulted in the low levels of the dams in the ­Midlands region,” he said.

“With our dam levels so low, especially during this time of the year, uMDM is compelled to introduce drastic measures to mitigate the effect of the drought.

“While these measures are drastic, the situation would have been catastrophic had it not been for forward planning by the new government to construct Spring Grove dam.”

He said if the public were ­unable to save the 15%, the ­restrictions would be “harsher”.

“Every drop helps to save water and prevent harsher approaches to water saving,” he said.

Bhamjee said he felt the ­restrictions were being implemented at the right time.

“We cannot implement ­restrictions willy-nilly. Once they have been applied we need to maintain the reason it has been implemented.

“Last year, the dam levels seemed to be relatively okay but recently they are at worrying ­levels.

“We understand that there will be discomfort for some users and that is why most of the cuts will be implemented during off-peak hours, so it does not affect the ­consumer for the most part.”

He added that if the public did not consciously start saving water, stage three water restrictions may eventually have to be introduced, meaning water use would be cut back by 60-70%.

“We all can make meaningful change if we all adapt our behaviour to water usage, so we can protect this precious scarce resource and minimise the impact of climate change,” said Bhamjee.


Water restriction schedules will be implemented from 9 pm to 4 am in the ­following areas:

•Mpophomeni, World’s View, Howick central and ­surrounding areas, Hilton central and Mount Michael, Cedara and Winterskloof, Dalton, Wartburg, ­Richmond, Camperdown.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water

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