Cape Town turns to green tech to help solve water crisis

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With only around 100 days of drinkable water left in the City of Cape Town’s dams, the municipality has turned to green tech to help avert its crisis.

Dam levels have declined to 26.2% (storage levels), which is 1% down from a week ago. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being useable, dam levels are effectively at about 16.2%.

The city thanked consumers who continue to save water but pleaded with Capetonians to bring collective usage down to 700 million litres per day. The current usage stands at 741 million litres.

“The amount of rain that has fallen over parts of the metro will not materially change the low levels of the dams and, in addition, it is critical that we do not draw more from dams than is necessary during the upcoming winter months,” the city said.

MMC for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and Energy, Xanthea Limberg said the city is in the process of bringing forward several emergency supply schemes.

“This includes the Table Mountain Group Aquifer, a small-scale desalination plant, intensifying the city’s pressure management and water demand management programmes, and a R120 million small-scale wastewater reuse plant at the Zandvliet water treatment works which will be capable of producing 10 million litres of high quality drinking water per day to the central and southern suburbs of Cape Town,” Limberg said.

“We will progressively intensify water restrictions and will reduce water pressure further to lower consumption, which could in cases lead to intermittent supply over larger areas of the metro at the same time,’ she added.

Should the water levels continue to drop and reach the 10% mark, this is what the city plans to do:

  • implement ‘lifeline’ water supply, which would involve minimal supply pressures, intermittent supply, and very stringent restrictions (should we reach a stage of ‘lifeline’ supply, some areas in the city which experience very low pressures may be provided with water using water tankers)
  • follow all legal, legislative and Council processes
  • install water management devices, for those who do not limit consumption even if they already pay the highest tariffs

Residents can get more on the city’s water information section on its website.

[Image – CC Marina Shemesh]