Water worries

2018-03-06 06:00

The Cape Town Cycle Tour may have pledged to donate two million litres of drinkable water, but Green Point residents claim they won’t see a drop of it.

In a statement, the Green Point Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association says: “The issue for Green Point, Mouille Point and Sea Point is that we won’t see a drop of the gifted water. All of it will go directly into the City of Cape Town’s water infrastructure – and none piped directly to the areas affected by the race.

“But by far our biggest issue is that the Green Point common areas will not see one single drop of the two million litres donated.

“The way we see it, a donation of additional water solely to the Green Point/Mouille Point common areas would go a long way to helping us rehabilitate our public open spaces.”

As the finish line is in the Green Point area, Green Point, Sea Point and Mouille Point residents “pay the heaviest toll in terms of resources”, the association says.

“Our fields are already struggling and counting on scant rain and non-potable water to be maintained. The promenade is also feeling the pressure of feet, with the grassy common areas reduced to dust bowls, almost impossible to rehabilitate­.”

Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust media, marketing and sponsorship director, David Bellairs, says the trust has worked extremely hard to limit its reliance on municipal water­.

“We have ensured that all water used by the event on the day will be independent of the City’s municipal grid. As far as consumption by the riders we attract to the City is concerned, we have committed to ensuring that we put back into the municipal grid an amount of water that is equal to or exceeds the anticipated use by these tourists. Anticipated use based on calculations is already published at around 1.5 million litres of water. We plan to put double that back into the municipal grid,” he says.

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, says water donated by the Cape Town Cycle Tour will be placed into the City’s reticulation network for general distribution to households as drinking water and will not be routed to a specific community. As with all other areas, the Green Point Urban Park and Mouille Point Promenade are under Level 6B water restrictions, Smith says.

“No additional water will be provided for landscaping, as is the case in other areas of the City,” he says.

“Currently the City’s priority is to ensure there is sufficient water for human consumption. Public open spaces and playing fields are being reduced to dust bowls throughout the City during this protracted drought period. Residents are prohibited from using potable water for irrigation. In line with Level 6B, there is limited use of groundwater sources (such as from boreholes) for irrigation. The City makes use of treated effluent water for irrigation at a few of its facilities, where there is infrastructure to accommodate this source,” says Smith.

Bellairs says the Cycle Tour follows a route around the Peninsula and through many communities.

“The finish is in Green Point and we enjoy working in Green Point and with the residents there. All areas of Cape Town are facing similar pressure on their public spaces, and some have never had the resources Green Point has had. It would not be right to single out one suburb for irrigation when this is specifically prohibited in the bylaws. We prefer that the water we are contributing to the system benefits all the people of Cape Town who draw from the municipal reticulation system.”

In addition, the association says the area has seen an increase in events, with 16 currently planned for March. “Of course, we have to keep on functioning as a City – events are our bread and butter – but during a crisis, surely it makes sense to turn down some smaller events and those that aren’t charity or school related, that simply line the pockets of organisers from outside the City? We have always believed that events should leave the area richer than they found it, and not just financially. That’s why we urge our organisers to take their litter with them, to leave the area in the way they found it, before they leave and never look back. And in this case, to help us water our garden, once they’ve spent ten days trampling and cycling all over it. They’re using our spaces, so a little bit of water to help maintain them once they’ve gone shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

Smith says: “This year, like previous years, March is one of the busiest months in terms of events being hosted in the City. This is the 40th year of the Cycle Tour event, which is one of our iconic events and generates huge income and jobs for the City before and after the event. The event industry provides enormous benefits to the local economy. Eight of the signature events hosted in the City annually contribute more than R3bn to the local economy and create more than 20 000 temporary jobs.”

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