The state-owned entity warned on Monday that if Durban and surrounding areas did not receive enough rain by the end of March‚ residents are likely to face a 25% restriction on their water supply.
Albert Falls Dam is 26% full‚ while Midmar Dam’s water level stands at 56%.
Umgeni Water spokesman Shami Harichunder said 15% mandatory water restrictions are in place.
“The experts are saying that it is only likely to rain between January and March.
“If it doesn’t rain we are going to be sitting with a major problem on our hands.
“What it means is that water currently available in Midmar and Albert Falls will have to last until the next rainfall‚ whenever the next rainfall occurs.”
Harichunder said only the reduction of water consumption could make the dwindling supply last.
“It is likely if it doesn’t rain by the end of March going into April‚ water restrictions of 15% could rise to between 20% or even 25%.
“We can’t have that situation‚ because if dams run dry‚ the consequences will be quite severe for households‚ industry and the economy.
“We can’t have an economy without water. All consumers of water must realise and accept that we have not come out of a drought as yet‚ described as one of the worst in 200 years‚” said Harichunder.
Umgeni Water postponed a 16-hour shutdown of the Midmar Treatment Works it planned from Tuesday until Thursday.
“Municipalities have asked Umgeni Water to postpone the shutdown because of the extreme heat. We moved the shutdown to 26 January. But Umgeni Water has increased the amount it gives to these municipalities to make sure they don’t run out of water during the shutdown.”
In a bid to cut water consumption‚ the city of Durban has adopted a hardline policy on illegal car washes‚ water wastage and illicit connections.
In a statement released on Friday the eThekwini Municipality warned residents to stop using sprinklers‚ filling their swimming pools and washing their cars with hosepipes “during this dire drought situation.”
Municipal spokesman Tozi Mthethwa said the city would “deal with illegal connections‚ high consumption and illegal car washes”.
“Penalties will be imposed on those who don’t adhere to the restriction rules imposed.
“eThekwini Municipality had requested the relaxation of the restrictions during the festive season to cater for the increased demand. This was due to an influx of holidaymakers to the city.”
Mthethwa said the demand had “exceeded the supply” during the holidays‚ causing a strain on the water network system.
With reservoirs in the region running dry‚ thousands of residents in a number of suburbs have been left with no water for extended periods.
The municipality explained: “Depending on where the consumers are in relation to their reservoir zone whenever there are interruptions in the system‚ those residing next to the reservoir will be the first to run out of water and those in the low level zone will be the last.”
-TMG Digital/The Times
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