Sports ground up for water boost

2018-05-22 06:00

The Royal Road sports ground is among a number of recreational facilities the City of Cape Town is prioritising in a R3m water project.

The City revealed in a statement this week that the Recreation and Parks Department intends to spend more than R3m in a bid to secure alternative water sources for some of its sports fields and parks. The interventions include the installation of boreholes, well-points and storage tanks.

This is part of the department’s efforts to build resilience amid the persistent drought, says Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith, in a statement.

Some 23 facilities are on the priority list. They include Royal Road, Sir Lowry’s Pass, 14th Avenue and Turfhall sports grounds, as well as Muller, Erica, Westridge Gardens and Wallflower parks. The facilities should have access to boreholes or be linked to treated effluent supply lines before the end of the current financial year or early in the new financial year, says Smith.

As a result of the drought and water restrictions, Smith says, recreational facilities have gone from green to brown. In fact, many of the City’s 610 sports fields have been rendered unusable and access to them has been restricted to prevent irreversible damage.

The City has had to advise many sporting codes to curtail their activities because “many of our fields would simply not be able to handle the wear and tear of regular use without proper irrigation”.

Smith says: “Currently, in terms of Level 6B restrictions, no irrigation is permissible using drinking water, and even irrigation using alternative water sources like boreholes and well-points is limited to an hour on Tuesdays and Saturdays.”

The Royal Road sports ground has facilities for cricket in the summer months and soccer in winter. It is not clear how the drought will affect the soccer programme in the area.

Smith asserts: “We cannot say with any level of certainty what winter will be like and whether the rainfall will be significant enough to help rehabilitate fields and parks, and also to fill the dams to the point where water restrictions can be revised to allow for more regular irrigation come summer.”

Other measures will include water storage tanks and further investment in alternative playing surfaces like synthetic pitches. The department is also working towards converting some municipal swimming pools into saltwater pools.

“The City has thousands of recreational and community facilities that have all been impacted by the drought. Sports fields are in the public eye and require a lot of water to be rendered usable, but we have also been working hard to revisit our approach to water use and savings at our resorts and community halls.”

He assures the community that the City will do everything possible to achieve its goals despite the challenges­.

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