Two thirds of Durban could run out of water by the end of 2017, if good rains do not arrive in time, the SABC reported at the end of last week.
Umgeni Water reported critically low dam levels with the Albert Falls Dam at 26% full and Midmar Dam at 58%.
Albert Falls could empty out, Midmar
Planning Services Manager at Umgeni Water, Kevin Meyer says current water resources will not meet the demand of a drought year in years to come.
“If the drought continues, then yes by the beginning of 2018 two thirds of Durban could be without water,” Meyer said. “Albert Falls could drain to empty. But, we wouldn’t allow that to happen because we would essentially release water from the Midmar Dam to Albert Falls to prevent that happening.
“We could also increase restrictions if necessary,” he added. “Albert Falls is currently sitting at about 26%. That’s a concern for us and obviously, we need to make sure whatever mitigation measures are in place continue.”
Adding small towns, rural areas onto water grid
Umgeni Water said it was looking at adding smaller towns and rural areas onto the water grid.
Chief Executive, Cyril Gumede said this was being called the Universal Access Plan.
“We go to each and every district municipality and look at their requirements and make sure they can quantify them in terms of bulk infrastructure and how much that will cost. Now, the project is almost complete,” Gumede said. “The challenge is the figures which have come out of that. Just the infrastructure will set us back about R100 billion. New dams cost money. To build one, (one) also has to take into account that if one builds new dams you also need treatment plants too, so it all adds up.”