Cape Town could face dire water shortages within 6 years

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 17 June 2011

Professor Jenny Day, director of the Freshwater Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, said much has to be done to ensure that the Mother City does not dry up.

The Table Mountain fossil aquifer has been there for millions of years. Extraction would permanently reduce the amount of water.

This could even include pumping water from under Table Mountain.

“The Table Mountain Series Aquifer stretches from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and up to the Cederberg. We think there is an awful lot of water but we don’t know what we can exploit without causing any damage. Or how much of it would be replaced by rainfall,” she said.

The city is currently investigating this option.

Day’s views have been backed up by the Department of Water Affairs which on Monday announced that the Western Cape could face dire water shortages within the next six years.

But these shortages will not bring the city to a grinding halt if Capetonians “use water more sparingly”. Continue reading

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

Cape Town out of Water by 2012

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 19 June 2010

By 2012 Cape Town will be out of water.  This is not conjecture.

As early as 1995 Professor Bryan Davies, then Head of the fresh Water Research unit at UCT, predicted that Cape Town would be dry by 2013.  Not bad from as far back as that.

Theewaterskloof is the biggest supply dam to Cape Town

Over the six past decades, there has been a drought cycle every six to seven years. The last time Cape Town was in a drought was 2004. I have watched this in Cape Town since 1965 when I can first remember the newspapers reporting the dam levels every day, and this has been the case to a greater or lesser extent for the past forty years.

We have always been able to augment further supply by building an additional dam, but not so anymoreThere is not another single place or any more river water that can possibly be found anywhere in the Western Cape for augmenting supply. The Western Cape is simply dammed out of water.  The rest of the country is in no better condition, so we cannot go looking elsewhere to steal this precious resource.

Two ways of augmenting supply to Cape Town have recently been mooted by the minister of DWA (Department of Water Affairs) Buyelwa Sonjica, viz. the desalination of sea water and pumping water out of the Table Mountain aquifer. Simply put, both of these augmentation systems are not sustainable, and should not and must not be pursued. The former is too energy hungry, and the latter means pumping fossil water from the TM aquifer. Clearly these are not options for a way of finding water for Cape Town.

What is studiously being ignored by Minister Sonjica is our ability to use less water, as well as ways to augment our own supply. Minister Sonjica will not be found encouraging citizens to harvest water; mainly because this would not mean any revenue for her department. Continue reading