FILE: The national Department of Water and Sanitation manages 42 dams in the province, with six of these dams supplying the city
Cape Town – The national government has agreed to come on board to help the City of Cape Town find solutions to the water crisis, with the potential of declaring further disaster areas in the Western Cape.
Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, met Anton Bredell, MEC for local government, environment and development planning, as well representatives from the City of Cape Town on Tuesday to find short, medium and long-term solutions to the water shortages in the province and specifically in the city.
The national Department of Water and Sanitation manages 42 dams in the province, with six of these dams supplying the city.
Dam levels in the province are at an average of 30.2 percent full and are dropping between 1.4 percent and 1.6 percent each week
Mokonyane said this needed to be reduced to at least one percent a week “if we are to safely navigate the water shortages and drought over the next winter and summer periods”.
“The meeting agreed there was an immediate need to establish a restrictions management committee convened by the province and inclusive of all three spheres of government to create a centre of co-ordination on all restrictions and drought related matters,” she said
“This will lead to a joint operations centre to ensure we save available water, improve management of the water supply systems, mobilise society to adhere to restrictions and collectively to consider and approve augmentation projects that will assist to safeguard water availability for the City of Cape Town and the province,” said Mokonyane.
Further meetings with technical teams from national, provincial and local government were taking place to discuss options for the approval on augmentation projects and possible acceleration of key infrastructure projects such as Voelvlei Dam project, which was currently undergoing an environmental impact assessment process and the Table Mountain Aquifer project, which was being led by the city.
“Given the challenges the province faces, we must utilise and implement projects that provide access to a water mix that covers augmentation through surface water, supports groundwater exploration, promotes the harvesting of rainwater and drastically decreases water losses through leaks, illegal connections and aged infrastructure, she said.
“Those are the options we will consider in the next two weeks once the teams have concluded some of the preliminary work.”
Bredell welcomed Mokonyane’s assistance. “We are all on the same page regarding the seriousness of the situation. There are a number of things on the table including potentially declaring further disaster areas in the Western Cape,” he said.
“Looking forward, we hope to see speedy progress on the larger infrastructure augmentation projects to address water security going forward.”
Xanthea Limberg, the mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waster services, and energy, said Mokonyane had assured the city of her full support during this time.
Weekend Argus/Independent online