Stable dam levels in KwaZulu-Natal amid water scarcity concerns

16 February 2024

A recent report released by South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has revealed that despite concerns over water scarcity in certain regions, the overall water storage situation in KwaZulu-Natal remains stable. According to the weekly update, the water storage capacity in the province stands at 89.3% this week, showing a slight increase from last week's 88.7%.

Of particular note is the resilience of the province's primary water source, Umgeni, which supplies water to five dams, including the Albert-Falls Dam. Albert-Falls Dam, crucial for supplying water to the eThekwini Metro and its surrounding areas, remains at 101.3% capacity, with only a marginal decrease from the previous week.

Other key dams such as Midmar Dam and Nagle Dam, which are integral to the Umgeni water supply system, are also maintaining levels above average, registering at 100.5%. Inanda Dam stands at 102.2.

Driel Barrage Dam, situated on the Tugela River, has notably increased from 64.0% to 96.7% within the week, indicating positive trends in water retention. However, certain dams like Hazelmere Dam, responsible for providing water to the province's North Coast, have experienced a slight decline from 83.7% to 82.8%, though this is still a marked improvement compared to the previous year's figures.

Despite these statistics, the Department acknowledges that certain communities within the eThekwini Metro are grappling with water shortages. In response, collaborative efforts between the DWS, Umgeni-uThukela Water, and local authorities are underway to address these challenges it said.

Various measures are being implemented, including the expedited completion of infrastructure projects such as the Hazelmere Dam wall expansion and upgrades to water treatment facilities. The completion of the Hazelmere Water Treatment Works upgrade from 55 to 75 mega litres per day is a significant step towards ensuring water security for the region.

Furthermore, President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced the uMkhomazi Water Project during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which aims to construct a new dam on the uMkhomazi River and establish additional water supply infrastructure for eThekwini and surrounding municipalities.

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