Durban residents frustrated at water shut-offs would have to wait at least a few more months before they could see the end of dry taps, but it would take several years of good rains for dams to fully recover.

Umgeni Water spokesman, Shami Harichunder, said the drought still had a grip on the province, and dam levels were low.

“Our concern is that Albert Falls Dam is at 25% capacity. This dam feeds three municipalities, including eThekwini. These levels are very low and we need heavy rains. There isn’t sufficient water to meet the demand, and this is why we have water shut-offs. Midmar Dam, when full, overflows into Albert Falls.

“However, Midmar Dam itself is at 60%, and that level is also pumped from Spring Grove Dam, so essentially there is not enough water. For Albert Falls dam to reach capacity and put us in a better situation, we project that there needs to be three to four seasons of heavy rains,” said Harichunder.

This translates to three to four years of good rainfall.

Harichunder said that at the very least, water restrictions would be around for several more months.

Resources

“There will be no easing up until we get good rains over the catchment areas and the dams fill up. We need people to continue water conservation measures. We are sitting in a situation of inadequate water resources as a result of the drought and this affects us all,” he said.

eThekwini Municipality urged people to use water sparingly, and continued with water shut-offs between 7pm and 6am. However, some residents said their water supply was being cut off earlier than the stipulated time.

Bluff resident Kim Brits said she arrived home from work to find the water shut off. “We all understand the need for the shut-offs, and we are all playing our part. However, the city must be fair and cut off at the right time and it must be for all areas. My colleagues in Westville are not experiencing what we are here on the Bluff, and it’s not fair.”.

* The FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon will take place next week, and water from a decommissioned dam, Henley, will be used to increase water levels. Harichunder said water from Henley Dam was too expensive to treat, it had been decommissioned and was used for recreational purposes.