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Durban - Northern KwaZulu-Natal communities have been requested to use water sparingly after Mhlathuze Water Board’s revelation that water at its two major dams was running low. 

Mhlathuze supplies water to the communities and industries of King Cetshwayo, Zululand and UMkhanyakude district municipalities.

“The Goedertrouw Dam which is Mhlathuze Water’s main water source for the greater Richards Bay area is currently sitting at below 40.83%, and has not fully recovered from the drought which ravaged the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal five years ago. The Pongola Poort Dam in Jozini is at 58.74%,” read the statement issued by the Mhlathuze Water Board on Tuesday.

The call came soon after Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu had this week announced water restrictions due to the drought crisis that had hit Gauteng, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. She said the situation was caused by the higher temperatures and low rainfall.

“We are experiencing high temperatures and increased demand for water, however, we are also experiencing very low rainfall.

“Rainfall is difficult to predict in the short term but what is compounding our situation right now are indications that our rainfall will become harder to predict,” Independent Media quoted Sisulu.

She said desired rains could be expected in December. 

The Mercury newspaper had early this week reported that due to water shortages in the province, Ugu District Municipality in the South Coast had warned local businesses about a looming Day Zero. But the paper reported provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Lennox Mabaso as saying the provincial government would not rush to call for Day Zero, “but water challenges are being experienced across all municipalities”. 

Mhlathuze water had appealed to community members to conserve water by not washing vehicles with hose pipes or watering their plants with drinkable water and ensure that they attend to leaks.

“In our efforts to ensure water security in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Mhlathuze Water has embarked on major infrastructure upgrades including commissioning a 40 megalitre per day water treatment plant to service the uMkhanyakude District with potable water. 

“Additionally, and as an interim measure, the water utility is also installing bore holes in those areas of UMkhanyakude worst affected by water scarcity,” read the statement.

Political Bureau