A view of the critically low Theewaterskloof Dam in Villiersdorp on Wednesday. It is the single biggest dam supplying water to the metropole of Cape Town. The City of Cape Town figures put the dam at 35.2% full on Monday. Picture: EPA


Cape Town – A crucial pilot project which could have somewhat eased Cape Town’s water crisis was, in 2012, halted and pushed back by more than 10 years due to financial reasons.

The possible extraction of groundwater from the aquifer underneath the Table Mountain Group (TMG) formation was an option the city council had considered, but dropped when the cost proved higher than anticipated.

Mayoral committee member for water services Xanthea Limberg confirmed the exploratory phase of the project concluded in 2012, and resumed in 2015. Full implementation, however, is not expected to commence until at least 2022.

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“There was no indication that we would soon experience a drought on this scale. Strategic water resource planning, updated in 2016, indicated that the next water-supply scheme for the region would only be needed by 2021,” said Limberg.

At a meeting of the Western Cape Water Supply System’s steering committee, she said, the Berg River to Voëlvlei Augmentation Scheme (BRVAS) Phase 1 was selected as the next augmentation scheme to be implemented as the TMG scheme was “pushed back to 2022-2026”.

The city’s dam levels were at just below 35% this week and continue to plunge.




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