City of Cape Town National Water Week Celebrations | Western Cape Government



City of Cape Town National Water Week Celebrations

17 March 2005
National Water Week reminds all South Africans of the value of our water resources and promotes sustainable management of this scarce resource. This is of particular relevance to Cape Town, which is in the grip of our worst ever-recorded drought.

The City of Cape Town is fully behind this annual initiative of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and the 2005 theme, "Water is Life", which emphasizes the role water plays in improving social and economic life.

After the second winter of poor rainfall in Cape Town, DWAF imposed a 20% curtailment of water consumption in the Western Cape. Severe water restrictions were imposed with the aim of achieving a 12% reduction in base demand (primarily household use) and a 55% reduction in garden watering, which increased to 80% in January 2005.

The overall savings since January have been 65% of the target, with a peak of 74% of the target in February. While residents have not achieved the full target, many residents have worked hard and sacrificed to save water and the City is grateful for this. Many households introduced savings measures in the 2000/1 restrictions and have found it difficult to achieve any more reduction in water use. There still, however, some households that are not contributing to water conservation.

The most recent statistics show that the average dam levels currently stand at 31,2%. This includes Theewaterskloof Dam (30,6% full), Voelvlei Dam (24,7% full), Steenbras Upper (47% full), Steenbras Lower (46,2% full) and Wemmershoek Dam (37,2% full).

The good news is that over the past month, dam levels have dropped by 1,4%, compared with an average 2% drop over the preceding few months. This indicates that people are saving more water than they were previously. Industry is also saving just over 3% and the City is saving over 50% at parks and sports fields.

If we have more than average rainfall this winter, restrictions may be eased. However, if we have average rainfall, then a level one or two restriction will remain in place. If any less than average rainfall occurs a more severe restriction is likely. All savings achieved now help alleviate the situation next summer and beyond.

To help consumers reduce their consumption we have established a hotline, distributed water saving tips in municipal bills, at expos and through the Mayor's Listening Campaign. A comprehensive media campaign is also reaching many residents through radio, television, newspapers and face-to-face communication and education in poor communities and various sector forums. We have also increased tariffs in the higher consumption brackets and are enforcing restrictions through warnings and fines.

The City's Water Week programme includes the third of three Water Savings Device Expos, a fun walk, participation at the Cape Town Flower Show, a Water Conference showcasing water conservation best practice, partnerships with the Cape Town Festival, Edutrain and DWAF (in the Masibambane Workshop), and a competition for schools.

The City's long-term Water Resources Augmentation Strategy takes a precautionary approach to future water resource planning. On completion, the Berg Water Project will deliver water by 2007 and cater for increases in demand until at least 2013. The City is also undertaking a five-year study of the Table Mountain Group aquifer (which stretches from the Hottentot's Holland Mountains to George) which could be a source of potable water. The City has budgeted R32 million for this over the next four years, with R3 million in the current financial year, R7,7 million in the next financial year and R21 million in the following two financial years. The City is ready to commence exploration of the aquifer, with six or seven boreholes, pending approval by the Provincial Department of Planning and Environment.

The City has also initiated a feasibility study into desalination, which will be completed at the end of June 2005. While the costs of desalination have decreased significantly, they are still at least double the cost of the new Berg Water Project and other smaller augmentation schemes that are also being evaluated. The results of the feasibility study will inform how we proceed with a pilot desalination plant.

The City is making significant advances in the area of wastewater recycling, which has now been extended to Potsdam, Bellville and Parow wastewater treatment plants. A study has been completed looking at how wastewater recycling can be undertaking at all City wastewater treatment plants, including the use of dual reticulation systems.

The City of Cape Town now has a master plan for the use of recycled water. A large part of the R20 million budgeted for water demand management will be for the recycling of effluent in the dual reticulation system. This will cover commercial, industrial, sports fields, parks and schools and if it is financially viable will be extended to private households.

A key aspect of Water Week for the City of Cape Town is the need to ensure that the provision of basic water and sanitation is extended to all households. While there is universal access to water and sanitation in formal households, we have some way to go in the provision of water and sanitation to informal households and settlements. We have allocated R21,7 million in this financial year, with R15 million for sanitation and R6,7 million for water provision. On 1 July 2005, when the next financial year begins R13 million will be available for sanitation in informal settlements and R2,2 million for water services.

The City of Cape Town is looking forward to a successful Water Week 2005.

For more information contact:
Ms Katharine McKenzie
Acting Executive Support and Media Officer
Tel: 021 422 1222
Cell: 082 650 6288

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