The public has until 15 March 2019 to give their input on The City of Cape Town’s draft water strategy which aims to ensure greater water security over the next decade.
The strategy was opened for public comments and recommendations on Sunday and details ways in which the city will become more resilient to future droughts, committing to increasing available capacity by more than 300 million litres per day over the next 10 years.
The strategy was drafted by the Water resilient Advisory committee which is comprised of representatives from academic institutions, business, agriculture and different spheres of government. The City has continued to rely on rain-fed dams for most of its water, which was much cheaper than alternative supply sources. It will now work to becoming a more water sensitive city by introducing incentives and regulatory mechanisms.
Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste Services Councillor Xanthea Limberg explained that following a three-year drought, the City needed to develop a strategy to combat its re-occurrence and adapt to the unpredictability of weather patterns due to climate change.
“It’s a 10-year plan that looks at increasing water security to 99.5%. the strategy includes what the augmentation will entail, the volumes of water, the costing etc. All these augmentations have been stress tested under different scenarios.”
Limberg added that provision has been made to accelerate or scale up augmentations in the event of another drought. She highlighted that there hasn’t been a strategy like this before as plans usually surround purification and distribution but not bulk water supply.
In future, a greater proportion of Cape Town’s water demand would be met from alternative sources, such as including groundwater or rainwater, slowing down run-off of water to be re-use and desalination.
“It’s a very holistic, integrated plan that goes far beyond what local government is constitutionally required to implement.”
The overall cost is at an estimated R5.3Bn. Limberg explained however that it will be more affordable for residents as it takes a long return view. It will be funded by tariffs and external loans. The impact will be minimized to residents as it is over a longer period.
“We want our communities to also have their say. Let us know if you think we missed something. Please share some of your innovative ideas that’s should be incorporated into the strategy.”
Limberg added that additional engagements with key stakeholders and sector representatives to ensure as much input is received before the draft is finalized.
Limberg also reminded residents of the international recognition it received for saving water, reducing consumption by almost 60% in three years. She added that being water wise will always be helpful in assisting drought resistance.
“Even though we don’t expect severe water restrictions going forward, it is beneficial for residents to continue to practice water saving at home. Be conscious of the fact that this is such a scarce resource. We are regarded as the number one water saving City in the world. “
Interested parties could submit their comments online to www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay. Copies of the draft strategy can be found at municipal officers and comments can also be writing and delivered to sub council offices.