Drought: North KZN a disaster area
Photo Credit: Matthew Jordaan, Independent Media
"The KwaZulu-Natal Cabinet has declared the uMkhanyakude District Municipality an emergency disaster area as the drought continues to ravage the country."
Areas such as Mtubatuba, Hluhluwe, Umhlabuyalingana, Jozini and Hlabisa have especially been affected by the severe drought. As a result, the Umfolozi River has dried up which has caused an interrupted supply of water to St’ Lucia and Nkolokotho.
Levels at the Kwa Bobhoza Reservoir are running on empty ranging from 0 – 1.8%.
The municipality has had to step in with the commissioning of four boreholes situated at Umfolozi River that can yield at least 1.8ML a day.
Spokesperson for the Umkhanyakude District Municipality Mdudzi Dlamini on Friday said although this wasn’t nearly enough, all measures were being taken to increase the supply.
“The Municipality hired an excavator earlier this week to dig down the trench by the river to improve production from 1.8 to 5ML,” said Dlamini.
At Hluhluwe, the dam is extremely low at 22%. Prior to the drought, the normal raw water flow at Hluhluwe Phase 1 was averaging to 280 cubic meters per hour. This has since dropped to 90 cubic metres.
With so many rural communities affected, the KZN Government through the Department of Cooperatives Governance and Traditional Affairs has brought the Umngeni Water Board on board. The focus will be on operations and maintenance, which includes rehabilitating the old scheme, repairing leaks and existing pipelines as well as the drilling of boreholes.
The ongoing work between the various municipalities has seen water tanks drawing water from Empangeni in an attempt to supply parts of the Mtubathuba communities.
A contractor has also been hired to drill wells at the Umfolozi river bed which will help increase the daily supply from 1.8 to 10ML.
Despite all these measures, large segments of the population still rely heavily on localised groundwater resources placing even more emphasis on the importance of water conservation.
Residents have been urged to use water sparingly. The District Municipality will resume with the rationing programme to all areas affected shortly.