By Kaveel Singh
The rainfall in KwaZulu-Natal over the past two days was insufficient to increase dam levels, an Umgeni Water official said.
KwaZulu-Natal experienced heavy rainfall this week, but Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said on Thursday the 4mm and 10mm rainfalls was “insufficient”.
“What we have to understand is a lot of this was soaked into the ground and does not raise the levels for the dam. We need significantly longer bouts of rain to [pick] levels up again.”
According to Harichunder, the vital Hazelmere Dam – a catchment supplying parts of eThekwini Metro, iLembe District and Sembcorp on the Dolphin Coast – was at a dangerously low 25.5%.
“The restrictions we have implemented will remain in place. Umgeni Water will internally meet on Tuesday to discuss increasing restrictions at the dam from 30% to 50%.”
Harichunder added the Ixopo area located in the Harry Gwala District would be the latest KwaZulu-Natal area to implement water restrictions.
“We met with officials this morning to inform them water shedding is needed. This will take place from 20:00 to 04:00 daily once the municipality informs the public. However, healthcare facilities such as hospitals and other essential services will be excluded from this restriction.”
On Thursday, the Department of Water and Sanitation said it deployed water tankers to provide water to areas hardest hit by the natural phenomenon.
These included rural areas in the KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo which had been declared disaster areas.
Other provinces affected by drought include Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West. In Gauteng the municipalities were experiencing strain on the supply systems due to high demand and current high temperatures.
Deputy director general for planning and transformation, Deborah Mochotlhi, indicated there were also short, medium and long-term measures in place to deal with the drought.