oa Civil Engineer in South Africa - Durban and the 1983/84 water crisis : emergency water supplies

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0009-7845



Durban has had to endure many periods of enforced water saving during the 100 years that Engineers have been responsible for water supply to the city. Before 1983 the most serious water shortage recorded occurred in 1905 when the main dam on the Umbilo River, which supplied the City at that time, was washed away in a flood.

The most common method adopted to reduce water consumption in the past has been a restriction on the use of hosepipes and garden sprinklers. With the exception of 1905, however, it had not been necessary to resort to any harsher measures and so the extreme water shortage which confronted Durban in 1983 needed a different approach.

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