Author Topic: Water in Cape Town  (Read 1297 times)

Online BJ

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Water in Cape Town
« on: June 17, 2017, 12:57:46 PM »
After the past weeks rain in the region, articles I red recon the dam levels are up 2-3%

Took a drive this morning via Grabouw to Villiers back road to Franshoek.
Situation stil grim.....



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Offline chrisc

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2017, 01:35:03 PM »
Nice pics.  The water collection into storage dams continues several weeks after rain has fallen.  We are promised 100% rain for Monday and further during the week ahead.  My roof collection system has filled a 5000 litre tank to the brim already

Offline Drifter

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2017, 03:45:24 PM »
Gonna need a lot of rain to make an impact. I also passed the Steenbras today and it is still very empty.
I caught the back end of a radio interview earlier this week where a local Prof said that of you take the capacity of the Steenbras and consider the square meterage of the catchment area, you need 1,6m (1600mm) of rain over the entire catchment area to fill the dam. That takes into consideration the water that also seeps into the ground.

Offline Rodney_gold

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 09:05:09 AM »
No matter how much we get , unless its a biblical deluge ,  next summer will still be a disaster .. I think we can expect level 2/3 restrictions for the next few years.
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Offline Larry

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2017, 12:57:23 PM »
There is no denying it, we're in for a water lean few years.  Everyone is just going to have to adapt.

Online BJ

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 02:49:19 PM »
Yep, have to agree with you guys. Add to that the constant inflow of people to the Western Cape it is going to to get tough.
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Offline entropyagent

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2017, 03:24:58 PM »
It seems I am not the only one struggling to get my head around the idea that it won't be for a few years. This is the pattern of the rest of our lives.

Offline 1200GXman

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 02:59:57 PM »
Free state having same problems. I have gone the dry garden route and try to design and plan it in such a way to handle the dry weather.
Bath water and washing machine water is used to water the plants currently.
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Online Adagio

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2017, 05:56:56 PM »
It seems I am not the only one struggling to get my head around the idea that it won't be for a few years. This is the pattern of the rest of our lives.

You've hit the nail squarely on the head. >>  :teach:


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Offline entropyagent

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2017, 04:05:09 PM »
You've hit the nail squarely on the head. >>  :teach:

That's a pretty scary change right there.....

I understand that one can get into a lot of trouble believing everything one reads on the InterTubes, but I have been trying to interpret the few bits of these 2 pamphlets that don't boggle my feeble brain.

Exhibit A:

That dam pamphlet http://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/City%20research%20reports%20and%20review/damlevels.pdf suggests that Western Cape's major dams were last filled in 2014:

2013:  79.3%
2014:  92.2%  <--Yay!
2015:  51.3%  <--Boo!?
2016:  33.3%
Nowish 23.1%

I'm interpreting that drop from 2014 to 2015 as a 'worst-case scenario' (Perhaps one day we will laugh at my optimism). If we are now at 23.1%, that means that the dams, our 'insurance policy', can't cover another year like that. Just. One. Year.

We can also argue that our insurance can't cover the drop from 2015 to 2016, either, with the 'last 10% is probably unusable' issue.

I don't remember what made 2014-2015 so special.  Did someone leave a tap open? Could it happen again? Maybe a big new dam was built and someone forgot to fill it?

Hopefully, the Powers That Be are not staring at this like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Water restrictions, brainstorming, desalination. A rain-tank subsidy might be nice. Boreholes? But is the Western Cape's underground water really a 'renewable resource'?

But, there's another pamphlet that offers another set of disturbing numbers.

Exhibit B:    https://www.westerncape.gov.za/assets/departments/human-settlements/docs/wcg_department_of_human_settlements_app_2016-17.pdf

Lots of words (so many words) but it has tables which are sort of like pictures for numbers. One of the tables seems to say that,  in Census 2011, the City Of Cape Town had over 140k 'households in shacks not in backyards' (comprising 13% of all households). I interpret this to mean that this was (in 2011) the number of Capetonian households that currently do not have a tap and a flushing toilet within their domicile. I imagine that they might quite like to, one day, enjoy this facility.  And they might be quite miffed at anyone who tells them that they can't,  because all the water has been used up. Can anyone blame them?

Lots of housing has been built since then, but the " Western Cape Housing Demand Database (2015)" table still says the City of Cape Town has over 320k households registered. So it's likely that the 140k free-range shacks number from 2011 has not dropped by much?
And maybe not all new housing gets flushing toilets? Not sure how that works....

I am probably misinterpreting many of these signs and portents (Hope so). I think it's part of my struggle to adjust my mindset regarding the disparity between the water situation that I grew up with, compared to the water situation now. A mindset-change might be part of our solution. Or Star Trek replicators. Not sure which is easier?


Offline chrisc

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2017, 05:23:49 PM »
We obviously cannot rely on our storage dams to fulfill any future water requirement, so a whole new approach is needed

The potentially best solution is an efficient, solar-power driven desalination plant, or several of these plants in and around Cape Town.  The sea is right on our doorstep, from mid-September until April we have ample sunshine and the efficiency of these devices increases all the time

A few years back we had the "load-shedding" which prompted many people to invest in photo-voltaic panels, so now we have a fast-approaching water crisis

The time to tackle it is right now.  The central govt neither has the inclination, ability or foresight to see it through, the Cape Town City Council is wedded to out of date ideas and is tied down by bureaucracy.  They would not consider an efficient Israeli-made system as it would involve them trading with Israel...!   Is our supposed political correctness going to supercede the supply of clean water to Cape Town?

Offline chrisc

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2017, 05:33:10 PM »
..And close to Muizenberg we have a large area of hitherto unused ground, close to the sewerage settling ponds where such an installation could be made, not 300m from the sea

The Ashkelon plant in Israel has been in continuous operation since 2009


Offline pwatts

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2017, 06:44:39 PM »
I do have to say that the water in Israel (even bottled) is horribly brak. Struggled to drink it the first time I went, but seems to be getting better the last few years.

Offline Shonver

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2017, 07:03:00 PM »
A heck of as lot of of housing units have been built over the past couple of decades. They all consume water. No new dams or other source of water have been constructed.

Water restrictions, brainstorming, desalination. A rain-tank subsidy might be nice. Boreholes? But is the Western Cape's underground water really a 'renewable resource'?

I really worry about this. And this seems to be the ace up their sleeve.  :Ooooooh:
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Offline entropyagent

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Re: Water in Cape Town
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2017, 09:00:29 PM »
Perhaps there are one or two clever people in South Africa who could put together a desalination solution. Is JimGore busy?

Very few people have anything positive to say about the process of re-inventing the wheel, but sometimes you find yourself with a innovatively better wheel. And lots of local wheel techs?


I really worry about this. And this seems to be the ace up their sleeve.  :Ooooooh:

I guess coal is a renewable resource, if you have time.