The City of Cape Town has adopted a multimillion rand water savings strategy for the next ten years. The purpose of the R759million strategy is to maintain a balance between available water resources and water demand in the long term, as well as to postpone the need for expensive capital infrastructure projects.
The master plan encompasses a series of water pressure management projects, the recycling of treated effluent, the reduction of leaks in the reticulation network, the lowering of water demand in communities, and the reduction of water demand by domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.
According to Cllr Clive Justus, Chairperson of the Utility Services Portfolio Committee, the consequences of not implementing such a strategy would result in a bleak future for Cape Town.
"South Africa is a water scarce country. The world is facing global warming and Cape Town's resources are under pressure as we experience constant growth in our local population and economy.
"Failure to implement the strategy will lead to a premature development of the next dam at significantly high cost. The Bergwater Dam, which is to be completed later this year, already cost R1,5 billion. Although it is not a City project, we are a key partner and most of the 81 million m3 of water from the dam will be allocated to the Cape metropole.
"Without this intervention the City will not be able to sustain affordable water supplies to low-income areas. The current losses of some R205 million per annum will continue to increase, as will direct distribution costs, estimated at R15 million per annum," he says.
Of the R29 million budget for 2007/08, R7 million will go towards operations, and R22 million for capital projects.
"Some of the major new water pressure management projects are in areas such as Mitchells Plain, Atlantis, Mfuleni and Gugulethu. With this project, the water pressure is reduced at night and during periods of low demand.
"The Atlantis project will be commissioned by mid-June and the tender for the Mitchells Plain project is to be advertised by the end the month. The first phases of the Mfuleni and Gugulethu projects are complete," he says.
City Water Services are currently busy with an extensive integrated leak repair programme in Protea Park, Atlantis. It consists of the repairing of leaks and the installation of new meters as well as a water management device which assists households to better manage their daily water consumption.
"Apart from the Atlantis project which should be completed by the end of this month, we have also embarked on a city-wide leak repair project in indigent homes," says Cllr Justus.
Other key water management demand projects include the recycling of treated effluent in Athlone, a city-wide consumer education programme, and the enhancement of existing infrastructure.
A component of infrastructure enhancement is the Northern Area Bulk Water Augmentation System (NABWAS) which includes the construction of the Muldersvlei Reservoir. This will increase the treatment capacity of the bulk supply system and supply water to the rapidly growing northern areas of the city.
The environmental impact study for the new reservoir, new treatment works and associated pipelines is being finalised. The contract for the design of the reservoir has been awarded to BKS (Pty) Ltd.
"Our wastewater treatment system is under severe stress due to lack of capacity. The sooner we alleviate these problems, the better for the protection of our natural environment and our water resources.
"The successful implementation of this strategy can postpone the need for another dam to be built in 2029, and ensure the long term growth of the Cape metropole," Cllr Justus says.
* Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Ald Helen Zille, this week called on residents to cut back on water usage. The City will be embarking on a major information campaign to assist people to save water. "People can save money by saving water. The less residents use, the less they will pay," she said.
11 JUNE 2007
CITY OF CAPE TOWN
TEL: 021 400 2201
FAX: 021 957 0023
CLLR CLIVE JUSTUS
CHAIR: UTILITIES PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
TEL: 021 534 5096
CELL: 083 628 4136