Surface water in Western Cape could run out by 2016

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 08 March 2011

The Western Cape’s current surface water supplies could run out by 2016, but plans for alternative sources should by then already be at an advanced stage, City of Cape Town utility services executive director Lungile Dhlamini said at the weekend.

World Water Day "water and urbanisation" will run at the Cape Town Convention Centre from March 20-22

Mr Dhlamini was speaking at a briefing where the city, in partnership with the United Nations (UN) and the African Ministers’ Council on Water, the UN secretary-general’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation and the Western Cape provincial government, unveiled their plans as hosts of the UN World Water Day 2011.

His comments came as the country’s water resources come under increasing pressure.

According to Mr Dhlamini, the city is exploring the possibility of a borehole in the aquifer on Table Mountain and a desalination plant in Silwerstroom, which is outside Cape Town. He said these were all long- term plans.

The city is already re-using about 20% out of every 500ml of effluent water per day as a substitute for potable water and for irrigation purposes, said Mr Dhlamini. Inadequate maintenance of infrastructure is also threatening water supply. Mr Dhlamini said Cape Town’s water and sanitation department only receive 1,7%, instead of the required 7%, of the operating budget for this purpose.

Other factors threatening the city’s water supply include irrigation and dumping in catchment areas, rapid urbanisation and the costs of legal compliance.

World Water Day will run at the Cape Town Convention Centre from March 20-22 and the theme this year is “water and urbanisation”.

Piers Cross of U N Habitat said this year’s event will focus on helping people to better understand water.

The themes that will be touched on include urban escalation; how to best serve Africa’s limited water; waste and pollution of cities; the treatment of acid mine water; climate change; governance; and how to increase the investment required for infrastructure.

International attendees will include the World Water Council, Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who serves on the World Water board, and delegates from Bangkok, East Asia, Europe and the US.

By: Daniel Bugan
Source: Business Day

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