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Then and now: Midmar dam, 57 years later

Picture: Midmar Dam Nature Reserve
Picture: Midmar Dam Nature Reserve

Before 1964, KwaZulu-Natal’s surface water was managed by various institutions, from local municipalities and smaller water corporations to the Department of Water and Sanitation. With so many decision-makers vying for their particular region’s best interest, water management was haphazard at best and unsustainable at worst.

Both of the province’s major cities, Pietermaritzburg and Durban, had their own respective dams fed by the Umgeni River and its main tributary, the Msunduzi River.

In the interest of a more strategic approach towards water management, the government of the day decided to centralise the provision of water, and part of this project involved building Midmar Dam higher up the Umgeni near Howick.

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