Albert Falls Dam’s lowest recorded levels in 22 years – confirmed at 19.3% by authorities on Tuesday – have prompted a call for stricter water-saving measures.
The eThekwini municipality said on Tuesday that the recent “welcomed rain” was insufficient to end the drought, with water levels in some dams still critically low.
“The current drought situation has worsened resulting in the level of Albert Falls Dam dropping further. The current demand of water from this system is exceeding the supply. The city is appealing to residents to reduce water demand by 15%,” it said in a statement.
Various outer lying reservoirs were being shut at night to build up storage for the following day to meet the targeted savings.
“Affected areas are those supplied by the Durban Heights system which includes areas in the North, South, Central and Western regions.”
Corporate stakeholder manager at Umgeni Water, Shami Harichunder said yesterday that the dam was the largest in the Umgeni operational area, and most of eThekwini was dependent on it for its water supply.
He explained that water from Albert Falls was pumped to Nagle Dam which was then transferred to the Durban Heights water treatment plant via aqueduct. From there it was distributed to various areas.
Midmar dam is currently at 78%; Inanda and Nagle Dam at 66% and 60% respectively;
Hazelmere Dam at 63%, while Spring Grove Dam was at 73%.
“Collectively, this entire system is at 50% of its capacity. In order to relax restrictions, the system has to be between 70% and 75%,” said Harichunder.