The annual Cape Town Cycle Tour will still take place in spite of the water crisis in Cape Town. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Media
The annual Cape Town Cycle Tour will still take place in spite of the water crisis in Cape Town. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Media

#CapeTownCycleTour: World's biggest charity race has #WaterCrisis Plan

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 29, 2018

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Cape Town - The world's largest timed cycle race is working on a plan to ensure participants place no extra pressure on Cape Town's already constrained water supply.

"The water shortage is beyond a crisis. It is a disaster and should be declared such," Cape Town Cycle Tour director David Bellairs said on Monday. 

The tour will be purchasing its own water to offset the demand placed on Cape Town's supplies, and will aim to leave a "zero footprint" on the city's municipal supply grid. 

Also read: Cape Town Cycle Tour to reduce water footprint to zero

"After a great deal of thought, and discussion with all stake holders, the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust agreed that in addition to taking the Tour off the municipal grid, it will offset the water footprint of the estimated 15 000 participants from beyond the Western Cape," Bellairs said. 

"As a result, we can confirm that the 2018 Cape Town Cycle Tour will go ahead.

"It is estimated that visitors coming to Cape Town for the event will use between 1.5-million to 1.750-million litres of water over the duration of their stay. 

"The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust - who represent our two key beneficiaries - has therefore committed to taking some of the money that would have gone to charitable distribution to purchase an amount of 2-million litres of spring water sourced from only licenced and fully tested suppliers, and from an area not experiencing drought. 

"This water will be put back into the local water grid.  We are working closely with the City of Cape Town around the mechanics of how this water will be introduced back into the municipal reticulation system," Bellairs said. 

The Cape Town Cycle Tour was established 41 years ago with the sole purpose of raising money for charity. 

"It is not a commercial entity but a not-for-profit Trust and every single cent of the net surplus from the Cape Town Cycle Tour is distributed to the Rotary Club of Claremont and the Pedal Power Association for community upliftment programmes," Bellairs said. 

"Over the past 17 years, the Cycle Tour has raised in excess of R109-million for its two beneficiaries. 2018 will see in excess of R10-million distributed to them and numerous charities rely on this source of income. Furthermore, participants use the event as a platform to raise money for other charities which compounds the charitable impact of the event raises."

Bellairs also highlighted the positive effect the tour has on the local economy, bringing in some half a billion rand into the Western Cape during the week of the Cycle Tour. 

"Even if we manage to avoid Day Zero, the water shortage is going to have – and is already having – a significant impact on the economy, not just of Cape Town, but the economy of the entire Western Cape and South Africa as a whole.

"The effects will be felt for a number of years, even if we do receive good rains this winter. So the question is, do we take away the revenue generated by the Cape Town Cycle Tour as well?"

The 2017 edition, which would've been its 40th year, had to be called off due to a number of factors. 

"For the last decade, the Cycle Tour has been presented with a variety of challenges – from scorching temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celcius, to extensive fires raging across the South Peninsula and, last year, winds in excess of 100km/h. This is our year of water – or rather, no water," Bellairs said. 

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Cape Argus

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