The City of Cape Town released its much-anticipated water quality report and highlighted four coastal areas with the poorest water quality. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
The City of Cape Town released its much-anticipated water quality report and highlighted four coastal areas with the poorest water quality. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

City of Cape Town's report shows four coastal areas with poorest water quality

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town released its much-anticipated water quality report and highlighted four coastal areas with the poorest water quality.

The report covers coastal water quality over five years - from January 1, 2015 to December 31 - relying on statistical analysis of over 10000 sample bacterial tests from 90 nodes along Cape Town’s 307km coastline. The report is available on the City’s website.

The report was done by the City’s spatial planning and environment directorate, which is in charge of the City’s coastal management.

Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, said: “I request residents, industry, and stakeholders to go online, and read the report. It provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the water quality at all of our popular beaches; the key findings, as well as the way forward in addressing the challenges.”

Key findings of the report, titled “Know Your Coast”, include the areas with chronic coastal water-quality problems such as the Milnerton Lagoon beach, Three Anchor Bay, False Bay and Macassar to Gordon’s Bay.

The report stated: “Dealing with such threats to coastal water quality is challenging for the City. Every day, it has to deal with domestic wastewater, solid waste and contaminated stormwater run-off generated by Cape Town’s 4 million people, and another 1 million bordering the city.

“The City responds to about 400 sewer system failures daily. About 75% of these are the direct result of abuse of the sewer system by the public, using it as a dump for anything from car engines to rags. The remaining 25% of failures are the result of infrastructure breakdowns, such as pump station failures (which increase with load shedding) or sewer line failures.”

Nieuwoudt said: “The City is determined to improve coastal water quality in areas with chronic problems, and will implement interventions to see an incremental improvement of the water quality along the False Bay coast, in particular. Working together with industry and residents, we are committed to addressing the multiple sources of coastal and inland pollution.”

With regard to the issue of the water pollution at the Lagoon Beach, the City said there are no “quick fixes”. They have allocated R1.7billion in infrastructure improvements at the Potsdam Waste-Water Treatment Works. The report said the City advises against recreation in the lagoon.

Water quality at Three Anchor Bay has consistently tested “poor”. The report stated that contaminants that illegally enter the stormwater system are a major source of pollution. At Fish Hoek beach, the water quality consistently tested “poor” from 2015 to 2019.

Water quality at beaches along stretches of the Strand beach, the Strand Pavilion jetty, Harmony Park and Gordon’s Bay, is rated “poor”.

Milnerton Canoe Club chairperson Richard Allen said for the past 10 years they couldn't use the lagoon for recreational purposes because of the contamination, the report said.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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