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De Lille appeals to Capetonians to change water habits for good

Last week, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille warned that at the current daily water consumption rate, taps may just run dry in mid-May.

FILE: Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille is appealing to Capetonians to change wasteful water habits for good.

De Lille inspected the site of an aquifer-abstraction project at the Steenbras Dam on Sunday.

The City of Cape Town wants to stave off 'Day Zero' - that’s the day the taps are expected to run dry.

The exploratory borehole at the Steenbras Dam is a sign of things to come: massive pumps extracting groundwater from the aquifer into the dam.

This is expected to bolster Cape Town's water supply.

While de Lille visited the site, she expressed concern at the Steenbras Dam’s low water level.

“It's worrying when you don't see any water in those dams, because we're trying everything to avoid that Day Zero.”

This leg of the Table Mountain Group Aquifer Abstraction Project will see another 10 million litres of potable water being pumped into the system every day.

But de Lille warns this doesn’t mean that Capetonians can relax their water-saving habits.

“People must not think because they are getting additional water they now can just use water like it used to be. We have to change our relationship with water completely.”

Last week, she warned that at the current daily water consumption rate, taps may just run dry in mid-May.

WATER QUALITY

A water expert is warning against moving too fast to tap the Cape Flats aquifer, saying the water may not be as clean as we assume.

Tebogo Mofokeng is a water reuse expert who is concerned about the quality of water in a Cape Flats aquifer.

The aquifer is directly under a horticultural area, which means it's quite possible that pesticides and fertilisers have found their way into the water.

“There could be, in some cases, infiltration of water that is not treated to the right standard that has polluted the aquifer.”

It’s not just farming related contaminants worrying the water expert.

“I think there’s also general pollution on some of the water bodies that is sitting on that aquifer. It could be the community, pollution in terms of plastics.”

She says it’s important to spend time to improve the water quality.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza & Shimoney Regter))

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