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Water woes worsen

Water supply cut threat for City of uMhlathuze

ALREADY unable to meet the 30% cuts in water consumption demanded by the Department of Water & Sanitation, the City of uMhlathuze could be burdened by a further 10% with immediate effect.

This as the severity of the current drought was once again urgently brought to stakeholders at the Water Crisis Task Team meeting held in Richards Bay last week.

Chairing the meeting, Chief Engineer of the KZN Department of Water & Sanitation (DWS), Norman Ward spelled out the new limits proposed for March as the region moves from Level 3 to Level 4 restrictions:

•Agriculture 80% (ie must reduce consumption by 80% – they will only receive 20% of their allocation). Current restriction is 70%

•Domestic 40% (ie must reduce consumption by 40%). Current restriction is 30%

•Industry 15% (ie must reduce consumption by 15%). Current restriction is 10%.

Address Council

However, while Agriculture and Industry directly supplied by Mhlathuze Water have complied with the current Level 3 water restrictions, the City of uMhlathuze (Domestic, which includes those industries supplied by the City) has not complied and should immediately be placed at Level 4, according to DWS.

A decision was taken at the meeting that DWS would make a request to address the next City Council Meeting on 27 January to highlight the seriousness of the water crisis, and the need for the City to comply with restrictions.

DWS warned the Municipality that if they continue to fail to comply with the water restrictions DWS will instruct Mhlathuze Water to only supply a certain amount of water and then to cut off the Municipality.

Residents, who disappointingly thus far have not meaningfully reduced their consumption, will be forced to do so when the supply is cut.

The City’s failure to spell out the restrictions to the public was also noted, with suggestions talks even be given at schools.

Dire forecast

The South African Weather Service rainfall forecast for the period up to April 2016 shows a high probability of dry conditions continuing, with extreme below-normal rainfall totals.

Goedertrouw Dam, which on 15 December had a level of 31.35%, is now officially at the 28% mark, having dropped 2.45% in the past month.

Predictions are that without meaningful rain the dam level will fall to 6% by the end of the year.

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