“Make sure that you use water more than once so that we can ensure that those (who) are not serviced do get services,” said Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane at the launch of the Bulk Water Supply Scheme in the iLembe District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.She appealed to the beneficiaries of the Lower Tugela Bulk Water Supply Scheme to not only save water, but to reuse it too.
The R1.32-billion project, which was launched on 22 March, includes the infrastructure required to abstract and treat water from the uThukela River to supply to secondary bulk and reticulation networks within the iLembe District Municipality.These networks will supply both developed and unserved areas. On completion, the scheme will reach a total of 750 000 inhabitants.”As we continue to bring this infrastructure into place, let us ensure that we do not do illegal connections, steal water or destroy infrastructure,” Mokonyane said.She encouraged those who could afford to pay for water services to do so, while those who could not pay should register as unable to pay.”The first phase of the Umgeni component is due for commissioning by May 2016,” she said. “The first phase is designed to produce 55 mega-litres of potable water per day. The design, however, is such that it is relatively easily upgraded to a 110 mega-litre plant.”Some 1 163 job opportunities have been created by the project to date.
Sunday was the first day that water rationing kicked in at a number of municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal in a bid to conserve water resources in the province.
The drought is the worst that has been experienced by the province since 1992, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said.
Dube-Ncube last week warned that the province was suffering water shortages and that mandatory water conservation measures would have to be implemented.
eThekwini Municipality (Durban and surrounds); Ilembe (Stanger, Ballito, Ndwedwe); uThungulu (Richards Bay, uMfolozi) and Mtubatuba will be most affected.
In a statement released on Sunday, Dube-Ncube said: “Today some municipalities will commence with radical water rationing programmes as part of managing the available water resources.
“Water rationing means that water production will be reduced and, as a result of this water reduction, less water will be supplied to municipalities. This will have a knock-on effect on consumers who will be given a set of amount of water per day once the water quantum allocated to households is consumed, there will be no water available until the following day when a new amount is allocated.”
The northern areas of eThekwini and the southern areas of Illembe, which are supplied by Hazelmere Dam, are expected to be the worst affected.
Last week Dube-Ncube said Hazelmere Dam had a mere two months supply of water remaining if restrictions were not implemented.
“We require major changes in policy and consumer behaviour to manage the current water crisis in our province. Today, not tomorrow, is the time to begin to change the way we treat water by conserving every drop,” she said.
“Water rationing timetables will be issued on a weekly basis and consumers and municipalities are urged to take note of water allocations available and use water sparingly. The less prudent we are with water, the higher the risk of water shortages we will face,” said Dube-Ncube.
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Durban – The drought in KwaZulu Natal has reached a “critical” stage and there are fears the province might not have enough water to last consumers into the summer.
The dry conditions first hit in October 2013 when the province received below-average rains, and have persisted since.
Umgeni Water’s Shami Harichunder said they had implemented emergency schemes in hard-hit areas, such as the 7.5km pipeline which pumped water from the uThongathi River into the Hazelmere Dam, on the North Coast, but they could not guarantee people would have
enough water until the spring rains came.
“Water resources were already under stress before the drought hit. So people need to accept that we are short of water and change consumption patterns,” he said.
The uThongathi pipeline supplies 8 million to 10 million litres a day to the dam, but Harichunder said that only delayed the dam’s running out of water by two months because water could not be treated once the dam level reached 20%.
On Friday the level was at a critical 36% and the South Coast system, which consists of the Nungwane, E J Smith and Umzinto dams, had also fallen well below capacity.
Umgeni’s chief executive, Cyril Gamede, said only the Umgeni System had shown resilience because of its design.
Its dams, which include Midmar, Inanda and Albert Falls, did not fall below 50% at any stage.
On Sunday Inanda Dam was 95% full.
“The Umgeni system is designed for a one-in-100-years drought while the others were designed for a one-in-50-years drought because of smaller dams,” he said.
He said the water restrictions would hold on the North and South coasts and there was a possibility that they could be tightened.
“This is the worst drought we’ve had in 20 years and the prognosis is that it may continue for longer. We might be heading the same direction as California (in the US), but for now we are optimistic that rains will come in a few months,” said Gamede.
California is in the grip of a severe drought, now in its fourth year. A drought state of emergency was declared by Governor Jerry Brown in January. A previous drought, starting in 1986, lasted seven years.
Both Gamede and Harichunder stressed that water management by municipalities and consumers was the best solution to balance supply with growing demand.
Umgeni is asking for a 30% decrease in consumption, but that could soon be increased.
“Replacing ageing infrastructure and attending to leaks is imperative. We are investigating other solutions such as desalination and reclamation, but those are not immediate solutions,” said Harichunder.
Objections from residents and environmental groups could delay a proposed desalination plant in Tongaat.
“A reclamation pilot study is under way at our Darvill Waste Water Plant (in Pietermaritzburg), but the initiative is going to need an intensive information campaign because people’s psychology towards recycled water needs to change,” said Gamede.
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