Lack of rainfall has KZN water authorities concerned

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The Western Cape is not alone in its water woes.

Umgeni Water - which is the largest supplier of bulk potable water in KwaZulu-Natal - fears that the biggest dam in its operational area may dry up in a few months unless there is torrential rainfall.

The entity warned that the Albert Falls Dam was “at an extremely low level”‚ mainly because of poor rainfall.

“A further complication is high temperatures that are being experienced‚ which is causing evaporation of surface water‚” said Shami Harichunder‚ Umgeni Water spokesman.

“It has been estimated that in the worst-case scenario - if there is no rainfall‚ if high temperatures continue and if no water is released from Midmar Dam - Albert Falls could reach dead storage by between 10 and 12 months.”

Harichunder explained that dead storage meant "that all that remains in a dam is silt".

“For the level of Albert Falls to improve significantly‚ there either has to be torrential rainfall for about four days or Midmar Dam has to spill. Predictions of good rains in the first quarter of 2018 have not yet materialised‚” said Harichunder.

Mandatory water restrictions have been extended for a year as Durban and Pietermaritzburg continue to battle drought conditions.

“Water restrictions remain in place‚ Umgeni Water has reduced potable water production by 15% and the municipalities of uMgungundlovu‚ Pietermaritzburg and Durban have to produce water savings of 15% daily - meaning they have to reduce supply to consumers.”

Harichunder said co-operation from consumers was imperative. “It is important for consumers to realise and accept that water shortages still prevail and the need to reduce water consumption and use water sparingly are still imperative.

“Water restrictions have been introduced to prevent a situation of acute water shortages occurring.”

He added that dams located on the south and north coast were in a healthy state and no water restrictions had been imposed.

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