Santa brings heat wave relief

In the grips of experiencing the long term effects of climate change that includes the extremely hot weather and little rainfall, SA Weather Services forecaster Wayne Venter said the weather was due to an upper pressure air system. Venter said this contributed to the increase in temperatures.
“The warm temperatures are due to the off shore flow that includes strong winds from the coastal regions,” said Venter. With record temperatures of more than 45 degrees experienced in the city on

Monday, Tuesday was a milder 26 degrees but blistering temperatures of more than 37 degrees are set for the remainder of the week. The mercury will drop on Christmas Eve with a forecasted 25 degrees expected and a moderate 22 degrees on Christmas Day before the heat sets in again for the new week with an average 30 degrees.

Umgeni Water has warned that with the hot weather, the city and the surrounding areas have received below average rainfall in the past year resulting in local dams remaining at below 50 per cent.
He said water restrictions had been effective in certain areas that fell under the Umgeni Water operational system in the hopes of alleviating the problem.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said Midmar Dam was currently sitting on a 54% level which was not sufficient to meet the demand.
“Despite the rainfall, the high temperatures cause an increase in the evaporation of water. This in turn reduces the amount of water available,”said Harichunder.
He said the level of water at the Albert Falls dam remained a grave concern.
“The dam is currently sitting at a 27% level which does not meet the needs of eThekwini,” said Harichunder.

He said the weather bureau only predicted above average rainfall in the first quarter of 2017 – and that meant consumers needed to continue using water sparingly until then.
With the hot weather conditions Pietermaritzburg residents flock to the city’s pools that has often come under fire for not being in the best of conditions.

This year, however, city mayor Themba Njilo has been praised for resolving a long-standing issue over the use of chlorine gas at the Olympia swimming pool.

The Concerned Swimming Fraternity’s Jay Jugwanth said for years they had highlighted their serious concerns over the use of ordinary domestic chlorine in public pools and not the tested chlorine gas that the municipality had previously used for more than 30 years. He said a recent test by Clive Anthony from the Environmental Health department revealed damning levels of bacteria in the water – which the chlorine gas would have killed had it been used.

Unwar Rawat, also of the CSF said their request had fallen on deaf ears at the Msunduzi Park and Recreation Department’s leadership, City Hall officials, ward councillors and even with the Democratic Alliance’s Mergen Chetty.

“We received no feedback and Mergen Chetty said he would facilitate a meeting with the councillor in January after his vacation,” said Rawat.

Not willing to sit back, Rawat said they then facilitated an urgent meeting with the mayor, who was on vacation but made the time to meet with the group at the pool on Sunday.
“The easy going and people friendly Mr Njilo assured us that they will procure chlorine gas for use in the pools immediately and that he will have a permanent solution in 7 days for a way forward. He also expressed his interest in learning how to swim at the pool” said Rawat.

Thembalethu Zakwe and Bongeka Sibisi

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