Albert Falls Dam. File Picture: Independent Media
Albert Falls Dam. File Picture: Independent Media

Umgeni Water concerned over low levels at vital Albert Falls Dam

By Sibusiso Mboto Time of article published Sep 14, 2021

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DURBAN – While the water supply in Durban is not under threat, the below 50% level of Albert Falls Dam for six years remains a source of concern for Umgeni Water, the entity reported this week.

Umgeni Water corporate stakeholder manager Shami Harichunder, said plenty of rain had been recorded at different locations in the past week, and this had brought hope of better rainfall during the rainy season.

The rains, he added, have pushed up the levels of the four dams in the Middle South Coast, and by Friday September 10, the dams in that region namely Nungwane, Umzinto, EJ Smith and Mhlabatshane were in excess of 100% and overflowing.

The dams supply the towns of Umzinto, Park Rynie, Pennington, Scottburgh and surrounding villages on the south coast.

While this was positive news, the entity was worried about the water levels of KZN’s largest dam, Albert Falls.

“Albert Falls – the largest dam in KwaZulu-Natal – remains of concern to Umgeni Water because it has been at below 50% for approximately six years. Water is being pumped from Midmar Dam and water transfers are occurring from Inanda Dam to stabilise the level of Albert Falls Dam,” he told The Mercury.

The dam, Harichunder pointed out, supplies greater Durban.

According to the entity, in the vast Mgeni system, a total of 246 mm rainfall has been received month to date, but this has not made a significant difference to the levels of the six dams in this system, namely Mearns, Spring Grove, Midmar, Albert Falls, Nagle and Inanda.

The level of Midmar Dam is being supported by pumping from Spring Grove and Mearns.Total raw water storage in the entire Mgeni system is at 76%, which is considered acceptable, and there is no risk of water supply shortages occurring in the short to medium-term.

The Mgeni system supplies the municipalities of uMgungundlovu, Msunduzi and eThekwini.

The water entity also released its quarterly analysis of water resources within its supply area, and projections on rainfall for the spring and early summer months, which indicated that the amount of rainfall received during May and June 2021 in the entire Umgeni Water supply area was below average.

“However, the outlook for spring and the first half of summer is above average rainfall. This is good news because, if it materialises, dam levels will increase rapidly, thereby improving water resource adequacy,” said Harichunder.

THE MERCURY

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