The Zandvlei water area has been temporarily closed by the City of Cape Town as a precautionary measure, after concerns over the water quality following testing done at various points within the Zandvlei area. The test results showed high levels of faecal coliforms within the body, indicating a risk to human health. However, the closure only affects the recreational activities in the Zandvlei area which includes fishing. The access to the Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve and other facilities has not been closed.
The City’s biodiversity management branch and environmental manger Julia Wood said the picnic areas and the nature reserve, and other areas around Zandvlei are still open. There is still a large amount of people going for recreational activity, but due to health concerns the public still needs to be cautious.
“We hope the situation will get better, as we are going to do more tests today, and we will be keeping the public posted on any new developments,” said Wood.
The high E. coli count is a result of a sewage spill earlier in the week due to a bulk sewer main collapse, which has subsequently been contained. The City has been monitoring the effect of the sewage spill into the water body and the additional pollutants entering the vlei from the catchment area. The additional pollutants are as a result of the flushing effect of the recent rain after an extended dry period. The results of these water quality tests dictated the decision to apply a precautionary approach.
“The City will continue to monitor the water quality and expects to see an improvement in these levels soon. In the meantime, signage has been erected advising visitors to the vlei to exercise due caution. The public will be informed once the vlei is safe for recreational use. The City apologises for any inconvenience caused as a result of the closure of the water area and thanks the public for their cooperation during this period.”
According to Wood, when a person digests a large amount of the water, the person can become very ill.
“Although Zandvlei is closed, just down the road is Zeekoevlei which has the same amenity, and therefore we encourage the public to take their boats and recreation to Zeekoevlei which is open,” she explained. VOC