UMkhanyakude District is experiencing a water crisis in and around the Town of Mtubatuba due to declining levels of natural raw water within the UMfolozi River catchment area. This has necessitated an urgent intervention of conserving water by means of water restrictions in Mtubatuba, St Lucia and the surrounding areas within a 30km radius of these two centres. UMkhanyakude Executive Committee declared an emergency within the District regarding the water crisis and that failure to heed this call will result in the imposition of even more stringent water restrictions by the municipality. The Exco has approved the implementation of water restriction measures in Mtubatuba, St Lucia and the surrounding areas within a 30km radius of these two centres until the flow levels in the Umfolozi River have reached normality as a result of the much anticipated spring/summer rains.

BACKGROUND

1.    The town of Mtubatuba, St’ Lucia and the surrounding areas are supplied with water from the Mtubatuba Water Treatment Works. Raw water for the water treatment works is sourced from the Umfolozi River where it is treated at the 20Ml treatment works and distributed through the system via bulk mains; it is not unusual at this time of the year for the Umfolozi River to be extremely stressed with the supply of available raw water being drastically reduced;

2.    This supply is being aggravated by the severe drought conditions prevailing. Currently production at the treatment works has dropped from the required 20Ml/day to approximately 4.5Ml/day;

3.    An emergency in terms of drought relief has been declared for the District by CoGTA; In addition to the drought conditions being experienced, production at the treatment works was negatively affected by the illegal strike action of staff engaged by the service provider contracted to undertake operations and maintenance functions for the municipality. Tremendous strain has been placed on the system to meet the demands of the consumers and unless drastic interventions involving water reduction is undertaken, the system will fail to meet the delivery expectation of services to all the municipality’s consumers as required by legislation;

The municipality is currently experiencing one of the worst prolonged dry periods recorded within its communities due to the prevailing drought conditions. The need for the implementation of water restrictions has been brought on by poor rainfall in the UMfolozi River catchment area reducing the UMfolozi River to a trickle; while water use continues unabated. The current water demand is much higher than what the UMfolozi River can supply. Interventions have been implemented as a result of the water crisis; however these interventions will not be able to meet the ultimate potable demand required to be produced at the Mtubatuba Water Treatment Works until such time that the drought conditions have been broken. The looming water shortage crisis realizes the urgent need for the municipality, as the Water Services Authority, to declare an emergency in terms of responsible water usage and declare water restrictions in critically stressed areas.

THE WATER RESTRICTIONS ENTAIL THE BANNING OF:

        The use of hosepipes from municipal supply mains

        Watering of gardens

        Filling of swimming pools

        Washing of motor vehicles, motorcycles, boats, etc.

        Washing of paths, paved areas and roads

        The use of irrigation/sprinkler systems

        Automatic flushing urinals - these shall be turned off in all public buildings when vacated and prohibited in new buildings

UMkhanyakude District Spokesperson Mr. Dlamini stated that it is in this context that an appeal is being made to all water consumers to comply with the water restrictions. The purpose of the water restrictions is to manage the available water resources and ultimately ensure that all consumers have access to a minimum level of service. This will ensure that the water resource is not completely depleted. The water restrictions shall remain in place until the flow levels in the UMfolozi River has reached normality as a result of the much anticipated spring/summer rains.

The municipality urges all residents within the district to please use water sparingly. THANK YOU!

“Together moving uMkhanyakude forward”

Mr. Mduduzi Dlamini - UMkhanyakude District Spokesperson

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