Cape Town Mayor outlines status quo of water crisis

During a recent speech delivered at the Atlantis Aquifer, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille thanked Capetonians who had been making efforts to cut their water usage, saying that about half of water users had restricted their daily usage to 87 litres per day.

But added that this was not enough. “We need each and every Capetonian and business on board as a partner on this journey,” she said.

“We are in an unprecedented drought crisis and this phase is critical because if the City and residents don’t do enough together and simultaneously, we will run out of water.”

She said the City was doing everything in its power to ensure additional supply, including finding and hiring the country’s best team of experts who were working 80-hour weeks with the metro to ensure that additional water could be brought ‘online’.

The Atlantis plant was one of several sites for alternative water sources which form part of the ‘Water Resilience Plan’.

The City of Cape Town had recently refurbished many of the boreholes around this West Coast area to increase the production of this plant. She pointed out that these boreholes formed a part of the City’s unique Artificially Recharged Aquifer System and said a lot of work had gone into ensuring an increase in the volume of water from this aquifer system.

Prior this work, the system had been producing around four million litres of water per day. “We have now increased the yield from this aquifer by an additional five million litres per day.”

The water is serving homes and industrial businesses in Atlantis, Mamre and Pella on the outskirts of the West Coast, which is quite a vast area. “So the additional capacity will be welcomed,” the Mayor said.

“This work demonstrates our commitment to addressing this current drought crisis. I repeat my commitment that I will not allow a well-run city to run out of water.”

She added that she had made it clear when the site of a new desalination plant with the V&A Waterfront had been announced: “we have a plan and we will supply water, but we need Team Cape Town to assist us”.

In the meantime, the City of Cape Town announced that Level 6 water restrictions will be implemented from 1 January 2018, which means that households using more than 10,500 litres per month could face fines and penalties. A proposal for a drought charge of between R45 and R2 800, depending on the value of the property, has also been tabled.

Take a look at these recent photos of the Theewaterskloof Dam, looking more like a desert than a body of water:

water crisis, theewaterskloof dam, cape town, drought


water crisis, theewaterskloof dam, cape town, drought


water crisis, theewaterskloof dam, cape town, drought

Water saving and greening go hand-in-hand for ERCID

In a year of serious drought and steadily increasing water restrictions, it may seem like an odd time to be greening an industrial area.

However, if you’ve recently spent some time in the Elsies River City Improvement District (ERCID), you may have noticed a potted garden or two, brightening up the stark facades of buildings and factories.


How can this be?

Well, according to Chairperson John Houston, the ERCID’s potted gardening projects – visible at Weavewell in Coleman Street and between Messaris Chips and SA Forklift at the canal off 16th streethave gone hand-in-hand with massive water-saving measures.

“Our greening efforts have not been affected by the drought at all, as we’ve been caring for the gardens with rainwater collected from the roofs of our buildings,” he explains.

Throughout the ERCID, various buildings have been equipped with 1000-litre tanks to catch up rainwater, which can be put to use in various ways.


For gardening purposes, the stored water is transferred to the ERCID’s legendary home-built fire truck and then distributed sparingly among the different pots.

Houston says that having a bit of greenery and other general maintenance – such as cleaning lampposts, weeding and keeping the streets clean – has made a world of difference to an otherwise relatively uninspiring area.

“I personally have been complimented by my visitors to say how clean, neat and safe the Elsies River City Improvement District has become,” he notes.

In 2018, the ERCID hopes to further improve on these projects and also to encourage businesses to give their buildings a new coat of paint.

No vacant buildings in ERCID, due to increased demand: 2017 in review

Since its launch in July 2015, Elsies River City Improvement District (ERCID) has become a shining example of just what can be achieved through hard work and dedication to change.

According to Chairperson John Houston, the successes of the ERCID can perhaps be seen most clearly in an influx of new businesses.

“Due to the clean, safe environment created and managed by Geocentric, we’ve experienced a sudden demand for property in the ERCID, so much so that there are currently no vacant buildings,” he said in his AGM message.

A few of the most notable improvements in the area include:

  • stop signs and road markings on all the streets
  • blocked storm water drains have been cleared
  • lampposts are continually being cleaned up and painted
  • CCTV cameras assist the foot and vehicle patrollers to identify problems before they start

“One of our biggest achievements of 2017 specifically has been managing to save huge volumes of water in storage tanks and creating gardens throughout the area,” Houston adds.

With 2018 just around the corner, Houston has said that they simply hope to continue on this good track of greening and maintenance in the new year and that there are also plans for additional CCTV cameras and fixing of road surfaces throughout the ERCID.