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‘No truth to viral voice note claiming dams in KZN are running dangerously low’

Midmar Dam. Picture: Umgeni Water

Midmar Dam. Picture: Umgeni Water

Published May 28, 2023


Durban — Umgeni Water has said that the water resources currently available are adequate to treat and meet municipalities’ full demands for drinking water.

On Friday, the entity issued a statement following an anonymous WhatsApp message, forwarded multiple times, which is causing unwarranted concern about the availability of water in the next few days due to what it says is the dropping level of dams.

Umgeni Water said that although the message did not specify which dams are drying up and why and which areas could face water shortages over this weekend, it continued to receive inquiries from members of the public and the media about the status of water resources, and whether there was any substance to the contents of the WhatsApp message.

“Umgeni Water wishes to provide an assurance that the dams that it manages and operates in a vast area of KwaZulu-Natal have adequate water resources to meet the full drinking water (potable water) needs of its municipal customers during the coming generally dry season – the winter months – and well into 2024,” the utility said.

The levels of dams as at Friday, 26 May 2023. | Umgeni Water

Umgeni Water said that in the uThukela District, in the north-west of KZN, the levels of four dams are:

  • Woodstock: 99%
  • Spioenkop: 100%
  • Wagendrift: 101%
  • Olifantskop: 102%

It said that these dams supplied the uThukela District Municipality. It also said that the Goedertrouw Dam, outside Eshowe in King Cetshwayo District, was at 100%.

Umgeni Water said that water stored in all of these dams was abstracted and treated at nearby water treatment plants, and supplied as potable water to municipalities for distribution to consumers.

“As of Friday, May 26, 2023, the collective amount of water in the Mgeni System – the largest system in KwaZulu-Natal – is at 96%. This means there is sufficient water to meet the full demands of the three municipalities that receive water from it. The collective amount of water in the South Coast System, as of May 26, 2023, is at 100%, which also indicates that there are adequate water resources available. All the other systems – Hazelmere, Maphumulo, Ixopo and uThukela – are also in a healthy state,” Umgeni Water said.

“Consumers are therefore urged to disregard the WhatsApp message as it does not correlate with the factual position with regards to available water resources.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the eThekwini Municipality warned that the viral voice note about a water shutdown was not about eThekwini.

“EThekwini Municipality would like to confirm that a voice note that has gone viral about a water shutdown from Friday to Wednesday, is not from or about eThekwini,” the municipality said on its Facebook page.

The municipality said it had no planned maintenance work this week that would interrupt the water supply for several days.

It also said that it communicated through its official communication platforms, including social media and not voice notes, if there was repair or maintenance work to be done.

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