Drought conditions in KwaZulu-Natal are fast deteriorating with the provincial government on Thursday
announcing more forceful measures in a bid to curtail water consumption. KwaZulu-Natal’s Co-operative
Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube- Ncube urged residents to cut consumption.
“This province is facing a water crisis situation. It is necessary to increase restrictions and
implement mandatory restrictions. We are talking about a very serious situation here,” she told a press
She said water rationing would be implemented in certain areas across the province water and
users exceeding their allowed usage could be fined.
“It is not because of the mayors or the councillors. It is because we have no rain.”
Areas of the eThekwini and Ilembe District Municipality supplied from the Hazelmere Dam, various South Coast locations and northern KwaZulu-Natal have critically- low dam levels.
In Ilembe, two sugars mills have not opened as the drought impacts on the sugar industry.
Ilembe and eThekwini consumers, supplied by the Hazelmere Dam, face penalties if they do not halve their water consumption.
Dube-Ncube said the Hazelmere Dam treatment plant would not treat more water than had been allocated as per the restrictions. The dam only had enough waterfor 60 days.
She said apart from Ilembe and eThekwini, other affected municipalities included the Ugu District Municipality, Uthukela District Municipality (Ladysmith) and Mkhanyakude District Municipality, Uthungulu District Municipality and Umzinyathi District Municipality.
Consumers in Durban and Pietermaritzburg supplied by Midmar, Albert Falls, Inanda and Springrove Dams among others were not immediately facing water restrictions.
However Dube-Ncube said as the drought worsened, restrictions could become more widespread across the province.
Both eThekwini and Ilembe were looking to build desalination plants as a long-term plan to deal with water shortages. eThekwini Metro mayor James Nxumalo said the municipality had commissioned a feasibility study into building the plant.
Ilembe District Mayor Sibusiso Mdabe said the municipality had already bought land and conducted an environmental impact assessment, but funding had to be addressed. In Mkhanyakude District Municipality numerous boreholes had reportedly failed, while levels at the two main dams – Pongolapoort Dam and Hluhluwe Dam – had dropped substantially.
In Mtubatuba water supply had been affected after the Umfolozi River dried up.
The MEC said in Kokstad and the surrounding areas, water restrictions had also been implemented with water supplied only during certain times of the day.
She said the impact was being severely felt in the agricultural sector.
The drought had reportedly affected almost 10 000 provincial farmers and stock losses were
mounting with more than 30000n cattle having been lost. She said 4 426 farmers, including 584 sugar cane farmers, had reported crop losses.
“Many farmers are financially stretched as a result of the increasing input costs and a
protracted period of low returns on production and the impact of the dry conditions.”
Another 3 668 farmer had recorded cash crop losses and 174 recorded losses in vegetable yields as a result of the drought
Water rationing kicks off in some KZN municipalities
By: Giordano Stolley, News24
Durban – 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.