Midmar Dam in Howick continues to spill following good rains in its catchments and maximised pumping from the Mooi River. Overflows from Midmar Dam have assisted in raising the level of downstream Albert Falls Dam. Picture: Supplied.
Midmar Dam in Howick continues to spill following good rains in its catchments and maximised pumping from the Mooi River. Overflows from Midmar Dam have assisted in raising the level of downstream Albert Falls Dam. Picture: Supplied.

KZN dams in ’health state’ as dry winter season approaches

By IOL Reporter Time of article published May 28, 2021

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The major water systems in Umgeni Water’s supply area remain in a healthy state as the dry season approaches, the major bulk supplier of water to KZN municipalities said.

According to Umgeni Water, assessments done show that the Mgeni, South Coast, North Coast, Upper Thukela and Ixopo systems have adequate water resources to meet full demands during the winter months and beyond.

“This means there is no risk of water shortages occurring in this period,” Umgeni Water spokesman, Shamu Harrichunder said.

The latest analysis of the status of water resources in the vast operational area of Umgeni Water is contained in a quarterly report for the period January – April 2021 and prepared by Umgeni Water.

The position has remained stable from the end of April 2021 and, as at 27th May 2021, the total amount of water in storage in the Mgeni System – the largest system in KwaZulu-Natal that serves four municipalities – was at 85%, an improvement of 9% over the corresponding period in 2020.

The municipalities of eThekwini, uMgungundlovu, Msunduzi and the northern parts of Ugu receive water abstracted and treated in the Mgeni System.

The six dams in the Mgeni System – Spring Grove, Mearns, Midmar, Albert Falls, Nagle and Inanda - range in levels of between 56% and 100% and all are at improved levels when compared to May 2020.

The largest of these dams, Albert Falls, is at 54% and continues to rise as a result of spills from Midmar Dam which remains full to capacity. A year ago, Albert Falls was at 44%.

The strong state of Midmar Dam has been supported by pumping from Spring Grove and Mearns dams and from the Mooi River.

Analysis show that if pumping did not take place, Midmar Dam would have been at 53% at the beginning of May 2021.

In the Upper Thukela System that serves parts of the uThukela District, the four dams there – Spioenkop, Wagensdrift, Woodstock and Olifantskop – are at levels of between 99% and 102%.

Two of them, Wagensdrift and Olifantskop, are overflowing. There is adequate water resources to meet the full needs of the supply areas of the water treatment works that receive water from these dams. Similarly, there is no risk of water shortages occurring during the winter months and beyond.

Total raw water storage in the South Coast System is approximately 100%, also a healthy situation for the winter months.

This system has three dams, Nungwane, Umzinto and EJ Smith. Nungwane is overflowing at 101% while Unzinto and EJ Smith are at 93% and 98% respectively.

The three dams supply Umzinto, Scottburgh, Penninmgton and surrounding towns and villages through the water treatment plant in Umzinto. Inland of Umzinto, the Mhlabatshane Dam is at 97%.

This dam supplies the water treatment works in Mhlabatshane for bulk delivery to the reticulation network of Ugu.

The strong levels of these dams are also because of above-average rainfall that was received from January to April 2021.

In the North of Durban, Hazelmere Dam is at 52% of its new capacity.

The storage capacity of this dam has been doubled after its wall was raised; however, part of work remains unfinished. In the absence of completion of work, dam safety requirements make it imperative for the dam to be kept at a level of under 53%.

Once the dam wall project has been completed, full impoundment of the dam can begin. There are no concerns over raw water shortages occurring in the near future.

In the Ixopo System, the Home Farm Dam is overflowing at 106%. This dam supplies the town of Ixopo and surrounding areas.

An assessment done by the South African Weather Service from January – April 2021 suggests that La Niña conditions are likely to weaken and return to a neutral state.

This could result in normal to below-normal rainfall from June – August 2021, in particular for KwaZulu-Natal and including Umgeni Water’s operational area.

IOL

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