Less splash at public swimming pools

2017-10-10 06:01

Most public swimming pools in the city will stay closed this summer as a result of the current drought crisis.

With level 5 restrictions in place, City of Cape Town officials must find a balance between compliance and providing quality recreation during summer.

Twelve of the 35 municipal swimming pools will be open during the peak summer season. These are distributed across the city to ensure everyone gets access.

The Retreat, Strand, Blue Downs and Long Street indoor swimming pools are open this week for the school holiday until Sunday. Thereafter, they will only reopen on 1 December, with the exception of Long Street, which will remain closed.

The Mnandi, Eastridge, Kensington, Hanover Park, Retreat, Atlantis, Strand, Blue Downs indoor, Khayelitsha, Bellville and Vulindlela swimming pools will be open from 1 December to 31 January from 10:00 to 16:00 daily.

The Sea Point swimming pool uses seawater and will be open from 1 November from 07:00 to 19:00 daily.

“Careful consideration went into selecting these facilities as they are easily accessible or located on a transport route. All of them have a maximum capacity of over 500 visitors and are equally represented across the four areas of the city.

“The goal is to ensure that the swimming pools are open as often and as long as possible. However, we must remind users that given the expected high usage of these swimming pools over the period, operating hours will need to be adjusted from time to time in order to ensure that water quality remains at an optimum level. These changes will be communicated to the public via our website and social media channels,” says JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services.

The rest of the City’s swimming pools may be opened for special events and competitions, but this will require an ­application.

All water backwashed from the swimming pools will be stored, treated and reused and any water lost through evaporation will be replaced with water from the surrounding pools that will remain closed this season.

In addition, showers at all public amenities and ablutions will be switched off and waterless hand sanitisers will be provided at most public washrooms.

Some potential medium- to long-term considerations to ensure that all municipal pools can be opened in future summer seasons include using pool covers, alternative water sources and recycling non-potable water. Converting some of the pools to use sea water remains an option, although it is costly.

Officials emphasise that Cape Town is in a water-scarce region and all residents, businesses and other partners must adapt to this scenario which looks at how to become a more resilient city. City officials are expecting a harsh summer ahead.

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