Not enough rainfall in catchment areas, says Umgeni Water

The Duzi River at College Road is in full flow following the recent heavy rainfall. Photo: Bongeka Sibisi


Despite the heavy downfall over the last week, the rain received is not sufficient enough to halt water restrictions. This is according to water utility, Umgeni Water, which confirmed that rain had not fallen in the catchment areas.

Umgeni Corporate Stakeholder Shami Harichunder said collectively, the system was at approximately 60%.

“The system has not recovered sufficiently, to a stage where there is adequate water to meet the full demand of the four municipalities,” said Harichunder, stating that restrictions of 15% will remain in place.

Harichunder further stated that Albert Falls, the largest dam in Umgeni Water’s operational area, has remained consistently at below 25% for almost six months. If above-average rainfall does not occur, Albert Falls Dam could reach 15% by the end of 2017.

“The prevailing situation has again illustrated the need to conserve and use water sparingly,” stated Harichunder.

Kwanalu CEO, Sandy La Marque, told Public Eye the farming community was in desperate need of the rainfall, as over the past few months farmers were “clutching at straws” to maintain their farms during the drought.

“We’ve seen a break in the drought, and positive feedback from the farmers across the province,” said La Marque. However, even with the heavy rains, she said there is still a need for repair in some farming areas in the northern side of the province.

Rainfall of 34.2mm has been recorded from the weekend’s storms that included hail. Heavy rains continued yesterday with 80% rainfall and gale force winds. An average of 20mm of rainfall has been measured in Pietermaritzburg.

According to South African Weather Service forecaster, Buyisani Luleka, the province is experiencing a cut off low system which has been the cause of the heavy rains.

“When the flow of air is disturbed, a trough forms and intensifies and develops into a low pressure system,” said Luleka.

Similar to yesterday’s weather, a reprieve is expected today with 30% rainfall predicted to shower the city. Luleka added that below 30% rainfall is also expected tomorrow.

Public Eye previously reported that water restrictions will be prolonged with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation granting Umgeni’s application effective from July 2017. Current restrictions require that the four municipalities that receive water from the Umgeni system – uMgungundlovu District Municipality, Msunduzi Local Municipality, eThekwini Metro and Ugu District Municipality – must produce savings of 15% and consumers must, in turn, reduce consumption by at least 15%.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha, said the disaster team management has been dispatched to various areas and there was a high alert for disaster in the city.  “No major incidents have been reported but relevant sub divisions have been dispatched for clean ups and alerts,” she said.

Meanwhile, large parts of KwaZulu-Natal, in particular Durban and the southern areas, were hit hard by flash storms that caused flooding and other damage on Tuesday. Several videos of the flooding have been circulating on social media showing cars covered by water.

Bongeka Sibisi

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