Private pools must stay empty, City says

Sea Point Swimming pool on Lower Beach Road.

The Sea Point swimming pool, which is filled with seawater, is on track to be re-opened, after having undergone repairs, on November 1.

The pool will be open between 7am and 7pm every day during summer.

This was confirmed by mayoral committee member for safety and Security; and social services, JP Smith this week.

Mr Smith said they would also be looking at the possibility of using salt water in other pools and that the Recreation and Parks Department was investigating other solutions to get water from non-drinkable water sources.

“A consultant is in the process of being appointed to investigate salt water sources for identified public toilets and four coastal swimming pools (Strand indoor, Muizenberg, Mnandi and Monwabisi).

“A full environmental impact assessment also needs to be done as part of this exercise. It is important to note that for a swimming pool to be converted into a sea water swimming pool, the whole filtration system will need to be replaced to handle the salt water – thus while it is an option, it is a costly exercise because of the infrastructure required.”

Mr Smith said the City had also decided to open 12 of the 35 municipal swimming pools during the peak summer season.

The Atlantis, Strand, Blue Downs Indoor, Khayelitsha, Bellville, Vulindlela, Retreat, Mnandi, Eastridge, Kensington and Hanover Park swimming pools will be open from December 1 until January 31 next year, between 10am and 4pm daily.

“The Recreation and Parks Department is very much aware that more than 1.5 million people visit our swimming pools over the summer season and the decision to downscale access has a huge impact on residents, visitors but also other users like swimming clubs,” said Mr Smith.

“We wanted to ensure that there is still some public access to these facilities, but as the water situation worsens, it is likely that all of the pools will need to be closed and will not be able to be used at all. This is unfortunately the reality of the situation and all residents and visitors need to realise that Cape Town is no longer operating on a business-as-usual basis. We hope that by next year we will be able to keep at least some of the pools open through the use of salt

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, said that no swimming pools may be filled or topped up with municipal drinking water, even if fitted with a pool cover.

“This includes the filling of new pools or the refilling of an existing pool after a repair. This applies to private and public pools, including pools at clubs, businesses and institutions.”