Trickle of hope

The project at the reservoir in Oranjezicht will bring relief to the drought according to the City.

In a bid to ease the impact of the water crisis, the City last week commissioned a project that will bring additional drinking water from the Molteno Reservoir.

The project is part of the City of Cape Town’s ongoing Water Resilience Programme to increase the supply of drinking water.

According to the City, three springs feed into the main collection chamber in Oranjezicht, where water is collected before being conveyed via a 525m long existing pipeline to the reservoir. The water is then chlorinated to bring it in line with the South African National Standard for drinking water.

Mayor Patricia de Lille, who visited the site last Wednesday, said the springs were previously used for irrigation at the Green Point Urban Park, Cape Town Stadium and the Green Point Athletics Track.

“We are catching the water from the springs and making it drinkable. This water goes into our taps. Capetonians are already making use of the extra 2 million litres per day. That is to give people hope. We are in this together and together we will survive.”

She thanked Cape Town residents for saving water but encouraged people to save further. “There are still a few people who think it has nothing to do with me. Those are the people we are targeting now. It is not fair on the ones who are saving.”

She said that over the past month and a half the City had identified 55 000 people who were abusing water.

Ms De Lille said that they had taken out their water meters and have put in water management devices which restrict their usage to 350 litres a day.

“We do have a plan and we will not allow a well-run City to run out of water.”

She added that it was also important to spread the message of saving water to the many tourists expected to arrive during the festive season.

“We are asking the visitors to save like us locals. We still want people to save because every drop of water counts.”

Ms De Lille said that criticism that the City hadn’t planned well enough for the drought was not fair, and pointed out that they had had a two-pronged approach. “When we do the recruitment and the tenders, we don’t want to compromise the procedure by taking short-cuts. We also want to make sure that whatever we buy is of good quality and will last. We have shortened the procurement procedures because we got permission from National Government. As we speed up the procurement we speed up the delivery of water.”

Meanwhile the City also announced that they expect the desalination plant in Granger Bay to start producing water from early next year.

Xanthea Limberg, the City’s mayco committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services said they were trying to maximise on alternative water sources. “The project at the Molteno reservoir is doing exactly that. We are utilising run-off water from the springs within the Oranjezicht area and treating that for drinking purposes. That minimises that strain and pressure within our dams.”

In addition, Ms Limberg said, the City was planning both temporary and permanent desalination plants. These could be land-based or marine based. Commenting on the concerns of the locations of these plants, she said: “The City has been incredibly conscious and sensitive around how we’ve gone about identifying suitable locations. The one area we have received a lot of concern about was Granger Bay but that plant will be of a temporary nature.”

She added that the site had been placed in a location that was largely used for parking and would not intrude on residential space. “We will be as sensitive as possible to ensure that those plants do not interfere with or hinder living conditions in any residential areas. She stressed that the City was doing all it could to add additional supply to the system and required the understanding of all residents. She said the tender for the site should be awarded soon. “That will only be providing a yield after February 2018.”