Durban – The persistent heatwave conditions during the festive season have contributed to the drought, an Umgeni Water official said on Monday.
While the bulk water supplier did not have any major demand issues during the holidays, the heat had caused higher than normal levels of evaporation, spokesperson Shami Harichunder said.
"It is certainly a contributing factor to the current drought we are experiencing. During the December period, around 124mm of rain was recorded. This is less than average.”
The KwaZulu-Natal coast and most parts of the country had been experiencing 30°C weather for almost a week now.
Harichunder added that holidaymakers did not significantly decrease water demand.
"Many have heeded our warnings. There would have been little that could have been done even if issues did occur because there simply isn’t enough water.
"While these current hot conditions are not ideal, with water evaporating at a much higher rate, we have seen Hazelmere Dam now reach 32.5% capacity. At its lowest it was around 25%."
Harichunder urged KwaZulu-Natal residents to maintain water-saving measures, saying conditions were still critical.
"The Umgeni system supplies around four to five million people and we want them to understand all we can do is wait for rains to come. It is important to note that measures for water conservation are needed now more than ever."