Cape Town drought: City doesn't live up to water augmentation promise

2017-10-23 21:13


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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has admitted that it will only be able to augment water supply to the drought-stricken Mother City by about half of the amount it promised previously.

About two months ago, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said the city aimed to augment current water supply by 500 million litres per day through groundwater, desalination and water reuse to avoid "day zero".

On Monday, however, the figure was drastically reduced in a statement by Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, and Energy, Xanthea Limberg.

In the statement, Limberg said the City would only be able to augment water supply by “between 130 to 240 million litres per day”.

“It is foreseen that between 130 and 240 million litres per day will be at some stage of production between December 2017 and May 2018,” the statement said.

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Good news for residents is that advance water pressure reduction has decreased water consumption by about 25 million litres a day, the City said on Monday.

The bad news, however, is that water consumption is still too high - about 85 million litres per day above the target of 500 million litres per day.

Advance water pressure reduction is expected to be intensified in the weeks ahead to help reduce consumption even further, Limberg, said.

She added that reducing water consumption remained the “most vital intervention to help see the City through the summer ahead".

Unlike electricity load-shedding, in which areas were switched off for a two-hour period, pressure management is introduced and remains active in an area all the time, Limberg explained.

Water supply could be disrupted for high lying areas during peak consumption between 05:00 and 09:00 in the mornings and 17:00 and 21:00 in the evenings, she said.

"The City supplies sufficient water to an area but, if the demand is too high, then those in high-lying areas or high-lying properties will experience some outages."

In the larger Western Cape, dams stood at an average 36.5% on Monday, compared to 62% for the same period in 2016.

The City’s feeder dams increased by 1.16% to 38.20%.

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The Breede River Catchment stood at 34.78%, the Gouritz River Catchment at 19.09% and the Olifants/ Doorn River Catchment at 39.36%.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said his department was working hard with municipalities to ensure that "no community runs out of drinking water in the coming months”.

He said his department was expected to appear before the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing crisis.

"To tackle this drought effectively will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders including and, in particular, national government, who we look to for bulk water infrastructure and financial support," Bredell said in a statement.

Read more on:    cape town  |  drought  |  water

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