Water supply expected to last December season

Shannon Hopkins
September 21, 2015
215 Shares 567 Views

Water authorities expect the Hazelmere Dam’s water supply to last another December holiday season under current restrictions and measures taken.

Supply could run out by January 2016.

A state of emergency was announced last year following months of drought, a situation which has not yet abated sufficiently to fix the problem.

Sembcorp Siza Water managing director Shyam Misra said the dam level, supplied by Umgeni Water is 30,38% as of this morning.

“The Dam level increased slightly over the weekend and may continue to do so over the next few days,” said Misra, after the rain experienced at the weekend.

“According to the Drought Liaison Meetings we attend (this meeting includes Umgeni Water, Ethekweni Water Services and Ilembe District) it is estimated that witgh no further rains the Dam will last until the January 2016 and this includes the December peak,” he added.

Misra exlained it generally takes three to five days for the dam to receive the additional flows from the catchment area, so this could also heighten the dam level further. From Thursday last week the dam stopped reducing and in the last two days showed an increase.

As authorities are achieving the required water curtailment targets, there is currently no need for to resort to shutdowns.

“We monitor this closely and only if demand outstrips supply will we resort to planned shutdowns,” said Misra.

“We wish to also commend these consumers for embracing the idea of utilising recycled water and thereby reducing the reliance on the potable system. We can also advise that we are progressing well with the respective network modifications and treatment upgrades to have recycled water converted into potable standards and thereafter introduce same into the network, this will assist in further reducing our draw from Hazelmere Dam,” said Misra.

However Umgeni Water Corporate Stakeholder Manager Shami Harichunder says the situation in the Hazelmere system remains on the whole “unchanged”.

He said water is still being transferred into the Hazelmere Dam from the uThongathi River through a 7,5km pipeline that was commissioned in May 2015 as an emergency measure. The level of the Hazelmere Dam has stablised at this level through the transfer of water from the uThongathi River. Since its commissioning in May, this emergency scheme has transferred 600Ml/d (600 million litres) water from the uThongathi River into Hazelmere Dam, he says.

This volume is in line with the projections of Umgeni Water. Cut of 30% in Umgeni Water’s potable water production at Hazelmere Water Treatment Plant and the accompanying water restrictions that are being applied by iLembe District Municipality, eThekwini Metro and Sembcorp Siza Water will remain.

During the latest rainfall this week, only 6mm was received close to Hazlemere Dam.

“This is not sufficient make a difference as the rainfall received gets absorbed into the ground, which means there is no run-off into the dam,” says Harichunder.

He said good progress continues to be made with the construction of the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme. This scheme, built at a cost of R1, 4 billion, is scheduled to be completed in April 2016 and commissioned in May 2016. This scheme will abstract water from the Thukela River in Mandeni – where there is an abundance of water – and supply the iLembe District, including Ballito which is currently under restrictions.

“When Ballito receives water from the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme, water will be freed up in Hazelmere Dam, thereby making more water available to supply eThekwini Metro whose areas of Verulam and Waterloo are currently under restrictions.”

A R498 million department of water and sanitation (DWA) project to raise the Hazelmere Dam wall by seven metres is also on the go.The project will increase capacity from 23.9 million cubic metres to 43.7 million cubic metres. It is expected to take about two years to complete – around June 2017.

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