DURBAN - Umgeni Water has decided to release water from the Hazelmere Dam in the north of Durban as torrential rains over the past 72 hours had pushed the level of the dam beyond 65%.
Umgeni Water said in a statement today that the water level in the dam poses a risk to the wall extension that is currently under construction.
It said it had taken a decision to release water from the dam on an emergency basis in order to reduce the level to 53%.
“The first release will begin on Tuesday, 12 April 2022, and continue until 53% is reached.”
Umgeni Water said communities residing close to or on the banks of the Umdhloti River should be aware that once the water is released, the level of the river rises rapidly.
“This could pose a risk to the safety of any person who tries to cross the river. It could also pose a risk to structures erected on the river’s banks.”
It said it did not know how long it would take to reach the required level of 53%. However, in January 2022, the dam reached 63%, and it took five days for it to drop to 53% in releases.
It added that the release is necessary to maintain a safe operating level, set at 53% pending completion of the raising of the wall project.
“If the level of the dam is kept at 64%/65%, water will go over the wall that is under construction, and it could topple.”
Regarding the dam wall construction work, Umgeni Water said the raising of the dam wall project was commissioned by the Department of Water and Sanitation, and after protracted delays caused by construction-related complications, the contractor has returned to the site.
About 10% of the work remains unfinished, and completion is scheduled for the end of 2022.
“When completed, the raised wall will more than double the storage capacity of the dam, thus reducing the risk of water shortages occurring again. The most recent case of water inadequacy in Hazelmere Dam occurred during the protracted drought of 2015-2017.”