City working on augmenting water supply
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.