KZN DROUGHT

Albert Fall Dam

Parts of Umgeni Water's operational area are still experiencing water shortages as a result of a prolonged period of below-average rainfall. This is a consequence of the El Nino effect. Regions affected by water shortages and where water restrictions of 15% have been in place for approximately two years are: eThekwini, all of uMgungundlovu District and all of Pietermaritzburg. These areas are supplied by the Mgeni system which comprises, in its upper part, Mearns Weir, Spring Grove Dam and Midmar Dam and in its lower part, Albert Falls Dam, Nagle Dam and Inanda Dam. Albert Falls, the largest dam in Umgeni Water’s operational area, has remained consistently at below 30% for approximately two years. It is as a result of inadequate rainfall and concerns over the level of Albert Falls Dam that a decision was taken to maintain the 15% water restrictions.

In the Hazelmere system, water restrictions of 40% were lifted in 2016 following good rains. The Hazelmere system supplies areas in the far north of eThekwini and in the south of iLembe. An emergency scheme to transfer water from uThongathi River into Hazelmere Dam has also been discontinued. In Harry Gwala District, water restrictions have also been removed as a result of adequate water resources in the local Home Farm Dam.

Water restrictions and use of emergency schemes are effective in slowing down the drop in dam levels. Consumers in the Mgeni system supply areas have begun to appreciate the need for water conservation and for implementation of water rationing and restrictions as a means to manage the effects of drought.