Cii Radio|Ayesha Ismail|10 May 2016|03 Shabaan 1437
Water is a basic commodity that is often taken for granted. Every one requires water for their daily needs, from drinking to washing and cooking, however, water in some parts of KZN has recently become scarce resulting in a looming water crisis.

An unusually dry spring and summer has resulted in a looming crisis of ‘calamitous proportions’ in KZN. It appears the drought being experienced is the worst since 1991 and it has forced the government to ration water by introducing a quota system in some areas.

Worst hit are Uthungulu, Umkhanyakude and Amajuba in the north, Ugu in the south, and Uthukela and Harry Gwala in the western interior. Hazelmere Dam – a major source of water in the eThekwini and iLembe municipalities – will run dry by August if no rain falls.

The drought has already cost 9 630 farmers 366 248 large stock units – mostly cattle – about 8 000 jobs, and significant sugar cane and vegetable yield losses.

Despite heavy rains and flooding over the weekend in KZN water restrictions still remain in place.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said that while rainfall received over the past 72 hours appeared to have been localised to coastal areas and major catchments, most dam levels remained critically low.

He added that the Hazelmere system, which supplies parts of eThekwini Metro, received 100mm of rain. The Hazelmere Dam level had increased by a mere 1%, to 44.6% and that mandatory water restrictions of 50% would remain in place.

The dam was still being topped up with transfers from the uThongathi River emergency scheme. It was constructed by the bulk water supplier about a year ago at a cost of R34 million to augment water resources.

Harichunder said the Upper Mgeni system – which includes the Mearns, Spring Grove and Midmar dams – received 24mm of rainfall and still remains in a state of stress and mandatory restrictions of 15% remain.

In the Lower Mgeni system, a total of 114mm rainfall was recorded over the weekend however, it had made no significant difference to the levels of six dams, which supplied about four million users.

Extracts – news 24| Legalbrief