Durban – As thousands of holidaymakers prepare to head to the coast for the festive season, Umgeni Water says those visiting should use water sparingly. "As KZN begins preparations for an influx of holidaymakers, a reminder has been issued that vast parts of eThekwini metro, iLembe district, all of uMgungundlovu and Harry Gwala districts, and all of Pietermaritzburg still remain under water restrictions to varying degrees," Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said on Friday. Government schools throughout South Africa close on Wednesday, December 7, and holidaymakers to Durban and other parts of the KwaZulu-Natal coast are expected to begin arriving from December 9.Harichunder said, ordinarily outside of a drought situation, the demand from the Water Services Authority, a planning service, for bulk potable water increased by between 20% and 50% per day during the December school holidays."The extent of increase depends on temperature on the day and if major public events are taking place."He said a readiness plan had been implemented by Umgeni Water on the South Coast to handle the potential increase in demand during the holidays.Rain 'far less than average'Harichunder said according to the plan, staff - including plant operators and maintenance staff on stand-by - would identify potential snags and problems that could interrupt production of potable water and fix these, and provide contact details of key technical staff to the Ugu District Municipality.In the Mgeni system, comprising four major dams – Midmar, Albert Falls, Nagle and Inanda – severe water resource shortages still remained, Harichunder said. "The amount of rainfall received in 2016, and the previous year, amounted to far less than the average. Two seasons of above-average rainfall are required to make a noticeable difference to the levels of Midmar and Albert Falls dams."Harichunder added: "Consumers in drought-affected areas are urged to continue adhering to water restrictions and to also use water sparingly."Most of the country has felt the strain of a prolonged drought, with farmers and consumers having to endure restrictions in various parts of the country.