In a bid to diminish the effects of a seemingly endless drought, the City of Cape Town has revealed plans for “advanced water resilience” which will look to add 500 million litres of new water to the city per day.
Briefing the media on Thursday, Mayor Patricia de Lille explained that the so-called new water will come from various emergency plans, including land-based and marine desalination, groundwater extraction and water re-use.
“The city has commenced procuring and commissioning, in a staged way, various augmentation schemes with the intention of making available up to 500Ml/day of non-surface water”, said de Lille. “In addition to the above, there is an additional planned augmentation of 10 Ml/day from the TMG aquifer and 1 Ml/day from the Oranjezicht Spring”.
Simply put, the plan will focus on simultaneously limiting the amount of collective water usage to 500Ml/day while ensuring that 500Ml/day of new water is made available through the establishment of new technology in various points spanning the city and surrounds.
Questions have arisen around the cost of such an operation and the city has responded by admitting that the entirety of the program will not be cheap.
“Bringing so many new technologies online simultaneously at multiple sites around the city is expensive”, explained de Lille. “Budgetary provisions will need to be increased and reprioritised. Every effort needs to be made to fund implementation this year from available resources and the to plan accordingly for the outer years”.
De Lille assured Capetonians that while exact figures are not yet known, increases to tariffs would not occur for the 2017/2018 financial year as rates have already been established.
The plan, although already set in motion as a whole, is likely to be implemented in stages depending on how the drought progresses. De Lille stated that the very unpredictable nature of the dry-spell has been the worst factor affecting drought containment.
The city has been implementing various restrictions since 2005, with more stringent restrictions taking over at the beginning of 2016. Yet, the evermore growing presence of climate change has played a major role in making any predictive measurements useless.
“Internally we developed new scenarios and decided to take the most pessimistic view of the drought and likely rainfall as possible”, added de Lille.
The city will look to begin the augmentation plan as soon as possible with local government voices saying we could see the first ground-water extraction structures up in a few months.
The current level of water for the dam system which supplies Cape Town is at 31.1% compared to 56.1% at the same time last year.
Water usage is still the cities major issue.