Cape Town digs deep to mitigate drought

Sunday, January 14, 2018

In a bid to stave off Day Zero, the City of Cape Town is drilling its aquifers to abstract groundwater, which are expected to offer much needed water relief for the drought stricken city.

“I [recently] announced that the recent groundwater survey had confirmed that aquifers around Cape Town could deliver at least 150 million litres of water per day.

“The Cape Flats aquifer will deliver 80 million litres per day, the Table Mountain Group aquifer will deliver 40 million litres per day, and the Atlantis aquifer will deliver 30 million litres per day,” said City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille.

Prime locations have been identified to abstract more water from these three aquifers.

The groundwater abstraction projects form part of the city’s programme to supply additional water from desalination, water recycling and groundwater abstraction.

Abstracting groundwater in bigger volumes means that the city can deliver more water to residents at a lower cost. A company contracted by the city started to drill for water at the Mitchells Plain water works last week.

“This site was chosen based on the hydrogeological information and the likelihood of it delivering a safe yield of water from the aquifer,” said Mayor De Lille.

The Mitchells Plain site is an exploration and monitoring borehole that will provide data about the conditions in the area. All exploration boreholes are designed to potentially become production boreholes in the future. 

The city will drill in Strandfontein, Philippi, Wesbank, Bishop Lavis and Kayelitsha to look for the best abstraction points to get water from the Cape Flats aquifer.

According to the city, the programme is based on an environmentally sensitive approach that will ensure sustainable water abstraction, ensuring generations of Capetonians will benefit from this groundwater.

“This is the first time such an extensive mapping has been done and will ensure responsible use of groundwater through, for instance, the water recharge of these aquifers,” said the City.

De Lille urged residents to continue to save water, despite the city’s work to secure new water sources.

“The City of Cape Town is working around the clock to bring new water supplies online but we need buy in from all residents.

“I cannot stress it enough: all residents must save water and use less than 87 litres per day. If we continue to use more than 500 million litres of water per day, we will reach Day Zero on 22 April 2018. We must avoid Day Zero and saving water is the only way we can do this,” said De Lille. 

Day Zero is the day when taps will be closed and residents will be required to get water from various designated water collection points. -

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