Parts of Theewaterskloof Dam, one of the Western Cape’s key water sources, stand completely dry in the midst of the worst drought in a century. Picture: Joan Word

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has appointed a Water Resilience Task Team, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that the “acute water shortages are avoided”.

On Sunday, Mayor Patricia De Lille requested assistance from water industry specialists to partner with the city to hammer out “a new water resilience approach to water management in the city”, which is less reliant on surface water.

“Being resilient in an urban environment means that we have the capacity as individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow no matter what kind of acute stresses and shocks we experience,” De Lille said.

Caught in the worst drought in 100 years, the city will not be taking the recent rains for granted and is forging ahead in its bid to find as many temporary water solutions as possible.

Under the leadership of the Chief Resilience Officer, the City will on Monday "formally post a Request for Ideas/Information (RFI) to the market for proposed solutions that will enable the City to temporarily establish several small, intermediate and possibly even large plants to supply potable water,” said De Lille.

It the quest for at least 100 million litres to 500 million litres of potable water a day, the city is considering plants that use reverse osmosis, desalination or similar technology from sea water, other surface water sources or treated run-off.

"The City seeks to gauge the interest of for-profit and non-profit entities in forming possible partnerships with the City to supply, install, and operate temporary plants at various locations along the sea shore and at certain inland locations, for the injection of potable water – the standards of which are defined by SANS 241 of 2011 – into the City’s water distribution network,” said De Lille.

Industry responses are due by July 10, with a view to having the first plants operational by August and able to continue production for at least six months.

The City will conduct regular water quality tests at each of these sites.

"It must be stressed that the temporary installation of water plants is intended to build resilience and to ensure that the households and businesses of Cape Town are not adversely affected by acute shortages of surface water,” De Lille said.

Cape Argus