City work­ing on aug­ment­ing wa­ter sup­ply

The Sunday Independent - - News - TANYA PETERSEN

AS DAM levels con­tinue to drop, the City of Cape says it is work­ing to en­sure var­i­ous wa­ter aug­men­ta­tion plans come online to sup­ple­ment the de­clin­ing wa­ter sup­ply, with the V&A Wa­ter­front de­sali­na­tion plant ex­pected to go online next week.

The City has in­vested R1.4 bil­lion dur­ing the 2017/2018 fi­nan­cial year for wa­ter aug­men­ta­tion, while they have bud­geted for just over R2bn for the next fi­nan­cial year.

Last year, the City re­ceived about R20.8 mil­lion from the na­tional De­part­ment of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance for emer­gency dis­as­ter re­lief.

Xanthea Lim­berg, may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for in­for­mal set­tle­ments, wa­ter and waste ser­vices and en­ergy, said they were in the process of re­ceiv­ing a fur­ther R100m from the na­tional de­part­ment.

To date, she said they have not re­ceived a cent from the na­tional De­part­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion (DWS) for any of their cur­rent bulk wa­ter sup­ply sys­tems on the go – in­clud­ing de­sali­na­tion plants.

How­ever, DWS spokesper­son Sput­nik Ratua dis­agreed.

He said DWS was pay­ing for the drilling tak­ing place at the Ta­ble Moun­tain Group Aquifers.

Lim­berg said this was not the case as some of the money came from the De­part­ment of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and the rest from the City’s bud­get.

Ratua also said DWS was pay­ing for the drilling tak­ing place at the At­lantis Aquifer.

He claimed the city was not putting any money into that pro­ject.

Lim­berg said this was un­true as the At­lantis Aquifer has been a long-term pro­ject of the City’s and is funded by the City.

Ratua, how­ever, said the DWS did not need to con­trib­ute to any de­sali­na­tion plants as this must be funded by the City.

He said that DWS was part of the plan­ning process though and is­sued the nec­es­sary wa­ter use li­cences.

Lim­berg con­firmed that DWS is­sued the wa­ter use li­cences, but she feels they should be pay­ing for the de­sali­na­tion plants as they fall un­der bulk wa­ter sup­ply in­fra­struc­ture, which is sup­posed to be paid for by DWS.

She said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were re­spon­si­ble for the retic­u­la­tion and treat­ment of wa­ter to homes and busi­nesses, while DWS was re­spon­si­ble for ac­quir­ing wa­ter sup­ply through the con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of bulk wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture.

Ratua said the city and the prov­ince’s bulk wa­ter sup­ply in­fra­struc­ture would have been suf­fi­cient if the drought had not hap­pened.

DWS is cur­rently work­ing on the Berg River-Voëlvlei aug­men­ta­tion scheme which al­lows them to di­vert sur­plus wa­ter into the Voëlvlei Dam.

Lim­berg be­lieves that DWS should stop only re­ly­ing on sur­face wa­ter as this is heav­ily de­pen­dent on rain­fall.

She said had DWS pro­vided fund­ing to­wards the var­i­ous aug­men­ta­tion projects cur­rently on the go, it would have made the bur­den lighter on the City as well as res­i­dents.

The av­er­age level of dams in the city is cur­rently stand­ing at 21.9%, with the largest dam Thee­wa­ter­skloof stand­ing at 10.5%.

Ray de Vries, founder and CEO of Air Wa­ter Com­pany, said even though Day Zero had been pushed back un­til next year, dam levels, specif­i­cally Thee­wa­ter­skloof Dam, stood at 21% the same time last year.

How­ever, Lim­berg said this was due to greater ex­trac­tion tak­ing place at Thee­wa­ter­skloof Dam to max­imise the wa­ter so that it doesn’t go to waste as a re­sult of evap­o­ra­tion.

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