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Seminar on Phillipi water

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The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) for food and farming campaign, are set to turn their attention to the Cape Flats Aquifer, (CFA) by hosting a seminar in the hopes of raising awareness for what they consider a crucial water source for the Cape Town community. The seminar, which is the first of its kind in the city, is being held on Thursday, in line with the United Nations (U.N) World Environment Day.

The aquifer is an underground water source located mostly under the Cape Flats area that covers roughly 630 square kilometers. It holds millions of litres of water through a system that uses a layer of underground permeable rock to store water, similar to a sponge. The CFA is sustained through water from high lying areas, with the PHA being seen as the last remaining green source vital to the recharging of the aquifer.

PHA committee chairman Nazeer Sonday said awareness and information on the aquifer was vital, specifically due to its importance to farmers in the Philippi area, who relied heavily on the water source for irrigation purposes

He also said at present, the aquifer had the ability to supply 30% of the cities water needs. This would become gravely important to the city in coming years, as climate change heavily impacted on the availability of water. He said it was important that people looked to the aquifer as a “strategic water source for the future”.

Sonday noted very little was actually known about the CFA, and so the seminar would bring together all existing information on the aquifer, and address critical questions and concerns surround it. This included what the current state of the CFA was, as well as what the gaps in knowledge were surrounding it.

“Hopefully we can move from this seminar to a larger conference, where we can bring together academia to really grapple and try and understand more about the aquifer,” he said.

He also said questions would be raised as to whether the water from the aquifer was polluted, and if so, how could it be managed to prevent further pollution. However, he said the most vital question was who was responsible for its management.

The seminar is being held on Thursday at the Country Manor in Schaapkraal. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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