A pool or a water waste?

2017-09-05 06:01

As we welcomed spring this weekend with the temperature reaching a summer high, the City of Cape Town – in the midst of the worst water crisis to hit the Cape in over a century – implemented the next level of water restrictions.

Level 5 water restrictions are aimed at driving water consumption down to 500 million F a day through stricter regulating of businesses, further reducing water pressure and capping excessive water use at residences and, of course, heavier fines for those not keeping to the rules.

Radio reports yesterday, however, revealed that City officials plan to keep its swimming pools open during peak times this season, but for reduced hours: From 1 to 8 October, 1 December to 31 January and 29 March to 9 April, including the Easter weekend. All while residents of Cape Town have not been allowed to top up their own pools since level 4 restrictions came into effect in May and, with another predicted dry summer ahead, will most likely not be allowed to any time soon.

Since water restrictions were introduced in January last year residents have come up with creative ways to save water. Some even decided to forgo the refreshing relief of their own pools when dam levels fell to less than half their capacity in January – months before they were prohibited from topping up.

A statement by the City in February, when a decision was made to reduce public pool hours to weekends only, stated “it is estimated that more than 1680kF water per day will be saved just by eliminating the daily backwash of the City’s swimming pools”.

With another dry summer predicted, is it wise for the City to keep public pools (with the exception of Sea Point that is filled with water from the ocean) open this summer at a cost of 1680kF a day? Should the City not set the example and stick to the same rule that residents are expected to adhere to – at least until these plans we keep hearing of have been put in place?

Capetonians should maybe also stay clear of public pools this summer. I’m sure that just as we found creative ways to save water, creative water-wise ways of staying cool this summer will soon be doing the rounds. And if all else fails, stay cool the way our ancestors did – head for the beach.

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