City wants businesses to use treated water

Potsdam wastewater treatment works in Milnerton.

The City of Cape Town is trying to get businesses that rely on water for their operations to use treated wastewater and so stop their taps running dry.

Last week, mayor Patricia de Lille visited the Potsdam wastewater treatment works, which is making treated wastewater available to businesses dependent on water, thereby reducing their reliance on drinking water.

Treated sewage is filtered and pumped into reticulation drawn on by businesses but separate from the drinking-water pipes.

Ms De Lille said that although many residents and businesses were doing a good job saving water, Cape Town still wasn’t doing enough to avoid Day Zero. The City would be forced to turn off the taps, she said, when dam levels hit 13.5%.

Residents will then have to queue for water daily at collectionpoints.

“The City remains steadfast in its commitment to creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and to doing everything we can to bring additional sources of water on stream,” said Ms De Lille.

“The City is using and reusing every drop of water we can. Treated wastewater is made available to businesses. The City is also using treated wastewater to clear stormwater drains and unblock sewer pipelines as well as at parks and at some Fire and Rescue Service facilities.”

More than 200 businesses are using treated effluent from permanent pipelines, while 150 businesses are collecting treated effluent at wastewater treatment works and draw-off points. These include stormwater and sewer cleaning companies, construction companies, painting companies, boat-cleaning companies, car washes, movie production companies, the Cape Town International Airport, outdoor improvement companies, manufacturing companies and drilling companies.

The City said wastewater could also be used in some road construction, dust control at construction sites, washing retarder from concrete, compaction, trench backfilling, spraying on compacted surfaces and cleaning of construction equipment.

The City has seven treated-water draw-off points to businesses – including two points in Goodwood and Thornton that opened last week.

The City has budgeted R2.4 million to make 24 treated-water draw-off points available to businesses.

The City said using treated wastewater on site cost R5.30 (including VAT) a kilolitre and was much cheaper than using potable water.

Businesses that want to apply can visit the City’s website at

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