The heavy rains the pelted KwaZulu-Natal this week saw a significant increase in the majority of dams in KZN but the Mgeni System, the largest system in the province, has not benefitted to any significant degree from the week-long rains, Umgeni Water said. File Picture.
Durban - The heavy rains the pelted KwaZulu-Natal this week saw a significant increase in the majority of dams in KZN but the Mgeni System, the largest system in the province, has not benefitted to any significant degree from the week-long rains, Umgeni Water said.

According to the water board,  the highest rainfall received in parts of KwaZulu-Natal over the past eight days, beginning 8th November, was recorded at a gauge in the south of Durban, Amanzimtoti, and three gauges in the Middle South Coast, namely Umzinto, Cragieburn and Mtwalume. 

"In this period, 163 mm was received at Amanzimtoti; 151 mm at Umzinto; 147 mm at Cragieburn and 141 mm at Mtwalume," Umgeni Water spokesman, Shami Harichunder said.

"Rainfall received at these four measuring points over the past eight days already exceeds the average for the entire month of November. Two of the four dams in the South Coast System – EJ Smith and Umzinto  – are already overflowing while the remaining two, Nungwane and Mhlabatshane, are at 97% and 59% respectively," he said.

Umgeni Water said that the severity of storms, accompanied by lightening, resulted in some Eskom power supply infrastructure being affected, impacting to a minor extent on some of Umgeni Water’s pumps and monitoring and control devices in the South Coast systems. 

"The levels of bulk reservoirs were affected; however, they have now begun recovering and no significant supply interruptions occurred" Umgeni Water said in a statement.

The other major beneficiary of the week-long rains was the Hazelmere System where Hazelmere Dam has risen by 7, 67% in a week, from its original 33, 47% to its current 41, 14%. 

This system supplies the north of Durban and parts of iLembe District, and its present volume means there is adequate water to meet the full demands of eThekwini Metro and iLembe Dam for these areas.

"At this stage the Mgeni System, the largest system in KwaZulu-Natal, has not benefitted to any significant degree from the week-long rains. However, run-off from the catchment in the Drakensberg still has to make its way into Mearns, Spring Grove and ultimately Midmar dams. The levels of these dams could increase in the next four days when this occurs and if projections of more rainfall materialise. In the past week most rainfall received in the Mgeni System was recorded at Nagle Dam, resulting in its level increasing by 10, 6%, from its original 77, 37% to 87, 9%," Harichunder said.

He said bulk raw water resources held in storage in the Mgeni System are currently in a healthy state and adequate to meet the full needs of the municipalities of eThekwini, Msunduzi and uMgungundlovu for at least the coming year.

"While there are no concerns at this stage about water resource adequacy, consumers are reminded that the need for water conservation still remains imperative as this will assist in ensuring that the resource lasts until the next good rains. Forecasts by the South African Weather Service suggest that if above-average rainfall occurs, it is likely to be received in November this year, January 2020 and February 2020,"  Harichunder said.

In February 2020 water resources availability in the entire supply area of Umgeni Water will be assessed, followed by further assessment in May 2020. 

"|While the Mgeni System in its entirety is at this stage in an acceptable state, the level of Albert Falls Dam remains of concern to Umgeni Water. This dam, the largest within the Mgeni System, has remained consistently below 35% and at one stage, during the height of the 2015-2018 drought, it fell to 25%. As a result of the low level of Albert Falls Dam, pumping from Inanda Dam has remained necessary to support the Mgeni System and augment water supply to parts of Durban".

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