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Durban - Torrential rains on Tuesday have pushed up the levels of at least three dams to overflowing.

But some regions – while dams there have been somewhat replenished – will still have to operate under water restrictions.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder explained that the amount of water resources collectively available in the system was still not sufficient to meet the full demands of eThekwini, Msunduzi and uMgungundlovu municipalities.

“It is as a result of a protracted period of below-average rainfall in the system and weather forecasters’ projections that this trend would continue into 2018, that a decision was taken by the system Joint Operations Committee (JOC) to apply to the Ministry of Water and Sanitation for current water restrictions of 15% to be extended for another year. This application has been approved and restrictions of 15% remain in place.”

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He said 47 mm was received at Hazelmere in the first ten days of the month and 21 mm occurred on Tuesday. 

“On (Wednesday), the level of Hazelmere Dam was at 98.53% – an increase of 1.5% from a week ago. Rainfall received in the catchments of this dam has yet to enter the dam and when it does, the level of this dam will rise again. 

“Water shortages in the Hazelmere system ended in September 2016 when the catchments for Hazelmere Dam began receiving good rainfall, resulting in the end of restrictions that ranged from 20% to 40%.”

Water demands of the entire Hazelmere Water Treatment Plant supply areas – Verulam, Waterloo, Sea Tides, Ballito, Umhlali and parts of Ndwedwe – are being met in full.

The overflowing dams were Umzinto, EJ Smith and Mhlabatshane – all of which are in the Middle South Coast – where 540 mm rainfall had been recorded from October 1 to 10. 

Harichunder in a statement on Wednesday morning said: “Almost 60% of this occurred in one day (Tuesday) as heavy rains lashed the South Coast.”

“The amount of rainfall received month now exceeds the Middle South Coast’s average for the entire month of October.”

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On October 11, the level of Umzinto Dam was at 105.29%, EJ Smith Dam at 104.12% and Mhlabatshane Dam was at 101.14%. 

The fourth dam in the region – Nungwane – was at 88.015%.

“This is also good news for agriculture in region as farm dams have also begun rapidly filling.”

At two Durban sites, Durban Heights and Wiggins, 192 mm and 127 mm were recorded respectively in this period.  

“At both stations an estimated 80% of this rainfall occurred on (Tuesday). Rainfall received at these sites does not make its way into dams. It is either absorbed into the ground or ultimately reaches the sea through river systems.”

At Ixopo, 94 mm was recorded in the same period, also more than the average rainfall for the entire months of October. 

On Tuesday, 53 mm was received. 

“On (Wednesday), the level of the local Home Farm Dam was at 91.17% – an increase of almost 2% from a week ago. There are sufficient water resources to meet the full demand of the town of Ixopo.”

The Mercury