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Call for Capetonians to be water-wise amid hot weather, chlorine supply shortage

Cape Town residents flocked Camps Bay beach as extremely hot weather conditions reaching up to 44 degrees Celsius. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town residents flocked Camps Bay beach as extremely hot weather conditions reaching up to 44 degrees Celsius. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 24, 2022

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Cape Town -In the midst of a sweltering heat wave this weekend, the City of Cape Town has urged the public to be water-wise in light of the national chlorine supply shortage.

Chlorine is used by water boards and large municipalities to treat water to drinking standards.

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Not only will residents have to worry about the extreme temperatures this summer, but last week the national Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) announced that the country’s main supplier of chlorine gas for water purification purposes, in Kempton Park, experienced severe supply disruptions.

The department said that if the matter escalated, the shortage would possibly affect the treatment of potable water and effluent water managed by water services authorities, metros and water boards.

The City said it was already procuring chlorine gas substitutes locally, and actively exploring all possible alternatives including international procurement options to mitigate the risk of protracted national supply constraints.

Water and Waste mayco member Zahid Badroodien assured residents that the City had chlorine supplies at all water treatment plants, was taking delivery of further stock, and that tap water remained safe to drink.

“While Cape Town has contingency plans to ensure chlorine is available to meet the national drinking water quality standards at all times, the public can help us by reducing their non-essential water usage collectively to about 800 megalitres a day range to ensure there is a sustainable supply of chlorine,” Badroodien said.

He said interventions for reaching 800 megalitres a day included not topping up swimming pools for a while, reducing garden irrigation with municipal tap water to a minimum, washing vehicles with a bucket instead of a strong-flowing hose, using a broom instead of a hose to clean hard surfaces, and taking short stop-start showers.

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While advising this, the City also alerted the public to water supply disruptions in Blue Downs, Brentwood Park, Camelot, Hagley, Highgate, Malibu Village, Nuwe Begin, Silversands, Summerville, Sunbird Park, Wembley and Wesbank.

Tuscany Glen neighbourhood watch and CPF member Rashied Hoosain said: “In the past three weeks the water problem has escalated from a weekly problem to a daily problem, from slow running to no water at all. All the necessary calls have been logged with the City.”

He said local ward councillor Frans Sauls worked on the ground and arranged water trucks to periodically distribute water in the affected areas.

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Badroodien said Blue Downs and surrounding areas were experiencing low pressure and intermittent water disruptions due to a water main having burst.

“The City sincerely regrets any inconvenience caused to residents, who are assured the department is making every effort to minimise the impact on water supply to their areas while they are waiting for the replacement pipe to be delivered on Monday (today). Repairs will start on Monday,” said Badroodien.

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