A concert on the water for a good cause

A unique charity event is being organised to help fund a independent water testing project on the Atlantic Seaboard.

A concert on the kayaks off the Atlantic Seaboard, is being organised to support independent water testing on the coastline.

The concert features guitarist Derek Gripper and all concert goers will watch the show from floating kayaks.

All the proceeds will go to Water Watch SA, a pilot project doing independent testing of water quality (“Ocean choking on sewage,” Atlantic Sun, November 24 2016).

The concert was supposed to take place on Sunday February 26 but was postponed to Sunday March 5 due to heavy winds.

One of Water Watch SA’s founders, Steve Kromberg, said the City of Cape Town still hadn’t updated people on the sewage issue since December 7 when it had claimed to be waiting for a CSIR test report that had been expected in late December.

Mr Kromberg that the concert was the brainchild of Sea Point resident Paul Lipschitz, who has been supporting Water Watch SA for some time.

“We are also honoured to be associated with Derek Gripper, who has done so much to take classical guitar into the African mainstream. Any such initiative that raises public awareness of the issue is very positive. Since we created a voluntary reporting form on our Facebook page, 27 people have reported symptoms of illness which they believe result from being in the sea around Cape Town. While we do not verify these reports, it shows a high level public concern.”

According to Water Watch SA, the City pumps at least 50 million litres of sewage a day into the ocean off Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay. All of the sewage in the City Bowl ends up in the Atlantic Ocean.

Water Watch SA is concerned about the effects of this sewage on water users.

Since the project began at the end of last year, Water Watch SA has been doing independent testing off Camps Bay and Clifton.

Mr Lipschitz said he was happy to do anything to help Water Watch SA. “It is a serious problem and no one is doing anything about it. We were out there one day on kayaks while they were shooting a documentary of the problem.”

Mr Lipschitz said anyone could come in their own kayaks to the concert, although most of the tickets had been sold already. The event is also dependent on the weather.

Stuart Diamond, the acting mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, and energy, said the City’s water testing was adequate.

“The City remains committed to performing the testing required in terms of the South African water quality guidelines for coastal marine waters in order to determine long-term water quality trends. Weekly or bi-monthly testing is sufficient to determine whether there are any persistent water quality issues,” he said.

Spikes in E.coli, the bacteria indicating the presence of faecal matter, were recorded from time to time, he said, especially after rain had washed pollution into the sea, but in most cases these incidents were short-lived.

Nevertheless, signs were posted near beach stormwater outlets in such cases to warn beach users that water might be contaminated. Dave Bryant, the ward councillor in the Three Anchor Bay area, said: “Any person who has information to suggest that the sea water has had a negative impact on their health is welcome to mail me directly and I will take this up with the relevant officials on their behalf.”