Waste of water

Peter Smulik, Milnerton

Daily, City officials bombard us with slogans such as “every drop counts”, and residents who use more water than they should, as assessed by the powers that be, are denounced as irresponsible and wasters of a precious and scarce resource.

However, when it comes to the City’s neglect, then the remedy becomes “too expensive”, never mind how much precious clean spring water goes down the stream into the ocean.

At Springs Way, between Newlands and Claremont, they cannot be bothered with connecting proper taps (like the ones at the brewery spring site) to the pipe draining the gushing spring water coming out of the ground. While filling a five-litre bottle, a good 90% goes to waste.

It would cost R5 000 at the most, to make proper provision for collecting the plentiful water, but no, the City and the mayor, in their wisdom, say we can’t afford it, while the dams are running dry.

And if a private individual would dare to make a decent connection at his own expense, the City would probably demolish it and charge him under some obscure by-law.

It’s the height of irresponsible behaviour by the City and shows just how arrogant those who govern us are. I wonder what we’ll be told once all the water is gone? It’s a disgrace.

At the brewery site, hundreds of people queue up daily to tap the precious source; not so many at Springs Way, due to its “hidden corner” and absent facilities to facilitate filling bottles with ease.

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, responds:

This is not an official drinking water source. It is for this reason that taps have not been provided for public use up to this point.

The City may only supply water complying with SANS 241 water quality standards, but is considering ways to augment the drinking water supply from this and other springs with adequate treatment if technically feasible.

Filtration and disinfection barriers would be required to protect community health, as would a pressure feed into the adjacent network and additional staff to control the treatment process. This being said, the City has hired a professional service provider to do a feasibility study on the further utilisation of the CBD and Newlands spring water sources to the City of the potable water network. The City does extract and treat 2.8 million litres a day from the Albion Spring in Newlands.

However not all springs can give us enough water, or are located well enough to implement similar schemes. The scope of work for the service provider entails analysing the potential water network options, the treatment options and cost estimates to implement the project.

Subject to the findings from the feasibility report and the water use licence approval by the national Department of Water and Sanitation, a budget will be found to implement the selected option.

The City has approached the national Department of Water and Sanitation, who must give the City a licence before we can use the water, and requested that the application to use the water be treated as an emergency.