Water Watch: news on the Cape’s crisis

(This article was first published on 3 February 2018 in the Weekend Argus, a weekly regional newspaper distributed in the Western Cape, South Africa.)

Water watch

Compiled by Yazeed Kamaldien


The lack of water supply from municipal taps in Cape Town has already had a negative impact on sports in the city.

The city’s media office said in a statement yesterday that the “current water crisis is negatively impacting on the functioning of the various sports codes and we are committed to working with them to ensure that the impact is minimised, whilst still taking the necessary steps to preserve the city’s remaining water resources”.

The city’s implementation of Level 6B water restrictions means the “outdoor usage of boreholes is strongly discouraged”.

“Usage of groundwater for irrigation purposes is limited to a maximum of one hour only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9am or after 6pm,” said the city.

“This restriction is necessary in order to ensure that the existing aquifer is not depleted, as this water will be required to flush the city’s sewer network in the event of a Day Zero scenario.”

The city said its “29 artificial surfaces will be used to accommodate as many of the major fixtures as possible”.

“However, as far as possible, we will permit the irrigation of sports fields with borehole water to allow key sporting events and tournaments to continue. Each sports federation is requested to submit a list of their most important fixtures and the city will prioritise the fields required for irrigation with treated effluent or borehole water.”


A Broadway variety show coming to Cape Town this month has cut out its water tank torture act due to the city’s drought.

The Illusionists, featuring top magical acts, will not feature its escapologist, Krendl, “owing to the critical water crisis”.

The show’s producers said in a statement they were “extremely sensitive to this situation and thank patrons for their understanding”.

Other acts will remain, including a crossbow master who appeared on the TV show America’s Got Talent as well as a Korean-born manipulator.

The Illusionist’s Den Den.

City officials have introduced additional criteria as part of events and permits applications, requesting companies to list their alternative water sources.

This is meant to ensure the city’s main water sources can keep taps running for longer.

JP Smith, the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, said they wanted event organisers to “minimise their use of the city’s potable water”.

Smith said there were a number of event organisers who had alternative water sources.

This included the Two Oceans Marathon race, which has sourced water from a natural spring and the Cape Town Cycle Tour, which will use water “brought in from outside the province for drinking and ice on the route”.


Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB) said this week it planned to provide millions of litres of relief water to locals and use “alternate water sources to supplement the use of municipal water”.

Water would be provided in 2-litre bottles at emergency sites as determined by the local government, said the beverage manufacturer this week.

The company said it has already “implemented a discount structure with its retail customers on the BonAqua 1.5 litre water in order to provide this product to consumers at affordable prices”.

It added: “All non-flavoured Bonaqua and Valpre bottled water sold in the Western Cape is produced and brought in from outside the Western Cape.”

It has also “invested in a number of initiatives in order to reduce the reliance on municipal water which include the potential use of professionally installed boreholes which are currently being tested in terms of sustainability and impact on the environment.

“The company has installed a 1.5 million litre bulk water tank at the plant in order to ensure a buffer in supply once the boreholes are approved and operational. It has also acquired three 33,000 litre food-grade water tankers to transport water from sources outside the water stressed areas.


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