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Durban starts water rations

We’re in a desperate situation – Umgeni Water.

Durban, South Africa’s third-biggest city, started rationing water supplies to stave off a shortage.

Supplies to northern areas of the coastal city will be restricted for six hours a day with immediate effect, the eThekwini Municipality said in an e-mailed statement Friday.

The restriction is expected to intensify to in coming weeks to extend supply by the Hazelmere Dam for as long as possible until the start of the summer rains. Bulk supplier Umgeni Water said the dam level of 28% includes a 15% silt content.

“This means available water capacity is less than half the measured capacity,” Shami Harichunder, a spokesman for the utility, said by phone. “We’re in a desperate situation.”

Drought in eastern and central South Africa around the turn of the year, the worst since 1992, has slashed corn and sugar output and may trigger water shortages for homes and businesses. Weaker river flow also threatens water quality. South Africa is the 30th-driest nation on Earth, according to the government, which expects water demand to outstrip supply as early as 2025.

Water levels are decreasing at a rate of 1% every five days and Umgeni Water is implementing emergency-supply measures, Harichunder said.

About 25% of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s members are affected by the water rationing, Justice Matarutse, the chamber’s policy and advocacy manager, said by phone.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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Brings to mind the words of Coleridge: “Water water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink”!

Perhaps time to plan? Oh no. That’s not how we do things. Wait for the crisis and blame something or other. We’ll cross the bridge (with no water flowing below) when we get to it.

Last time we saw a drought this prolonged in the mid eighties there was a major cyclone after it that hit the KZN north coast badly……..wonder if its a pattern thats about to repeat

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