WATER-WISE: Nazeer Sonday, convener of the Philippi Horticultural Area Food & Farming
WATER-WISE: Nazeer Sonday, convener of the Philippi Horticultural Area Food & Farming

City set on sustainable water management

By Johan Van Der Merwe Time of article published Feb 4, 2016

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The City of Cape Town notes the discussion and narrative surrounding the Cape Flats Aquifer (CFA), the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) and our water management efforts.

Our sustainable water management efforts permeate through all of our operations and this also holds true for our commitment to the PHA and aquifer.

For instance, through partnership with our residents and the implementation of the water conservation and water-demand management strategy in 2007, we have managed to keep our overall water loss down to 15 percent. This is lower than all other metros in the country, which maintain a combined average water loss of up to 30 percent.

In fact, the success of the City’s Water Conservation and Water Demand Management Programme was lauded at COP21 in Paris late last year.

In addition, due to the drought conditions, Level 2 water restrictions were implemented at the start of January. This has been a proactive step with a view to sustainable water management.

In light of our overall approach to water-demand management, it must be emphasised that the CFA is highly valued and well understood. A strategy is in place to enhance the functioning of the CFA, to improve maintenance of the ecosystem, to expand small-scale community supply, and to enhance the use of bulk water supply through artificial recharge. Short-, medium- and long-term recommendations were made to improve the condition of the CFA.

In general, with regards to the protection and conservation of the CFA, and in particular the PHA aquifer, any proposed urban development would be approved or turned down based on the principles of sustainable drainage-system (SuDS) practices.

This includes water management practices and facilities designed to drain surface water in a manner that will provide a more sustainable approach than has been the conventional practice of just routing stormwater run-off through a pipe to a water course.

Any proposed developments would also include stormwater storage and infiltration tools, comprising ponds, swales, permeable paving and other sustainable drainage features that will encourage the infiltration of rain water into the PHA aquifer and also encourage the reuse of grey water.

The City remains committed to sustainable economic and urban development, the design of which is best implemented through due process – a system which the City has become renowned for within South Africa.

Our decision-making structures are built to consider the contextual demands of Cape Town’s urban environment within the broader municipal framework, thereby ensuring that actions consider the broad and long-term interests of Cape Town residents in a balanced manner.

Councillor Johan van der Merwe

Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning

City of Cape Town

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