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News Article | May 17, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

Despite dramatically reducing water consumption, the City of Cape Town is still in a severe situation, with dam levels dropping by the day. “We are well beyond the point that Gauteng was at when it declared a disaster,” City of Cape Town executive director of informal settlements, water and waste Gisela Kaiser told delegates at the African Utility Week. She said the city was doing all it could to bring down water consumption among its four-million residents. Water restrictions have been in place since 2015, and have been tightened further this week. “We are experiencing the worst drought in Cape Town’s recorded history of more than 100 years. Meteorologists have warned that the coming winter will be just as dry as the last two years. Gone are the days of persistent drizzle lasting just over a week,” said Kaiser. She indicated that timing had not been on the side of the city authorities, as additional water supply schemes for the region were deferred before the drought took hold. “The decision to defer plans for supply schemes was followed by exceptionally low rainfall. To predict the future is not foolproof. When long-term water planning is undertaken, it’s based on historical water patterns.” At the time, she said, it was not practical to “set aside billions of rands for an alternative scheme when there are more pressing needs in the country.” “Even if money were no object, there is no way that an alternative supply scheme, such as desalination, would be built in time to compensate for a drought.” So far, water restrictions had led to Capetonians saving the equivalent of the Wemmershoek dam or the equivalent of 23 600 Olympic-size swimming pools. Kaiser said by the end of the month, the city aimed to save the equivalent of the Berg River dam. “We have managed to save a third of our usual water consumption year-on-year. Despite population growth, we’ve had flat-line water consumption growth since 2000.” Water losses, partly through burst and leaking pipes, have also been reduced, although not enough. Pipe bursts have been halved, while there have been extensive pipe replacement programmes. “Water losses are down from 25% in 2009 to below 15% today.” Kaiser said the city had communicated with residents through social and mainstream media, on posters, brochures and every way possible to let them know how to use less water. She said the most effective messaging had been to flash the position of dam levels on signs on major roads. “This got people’s attention.” “The water crisis is challenging the city and its residents to think differently about water, now and into the future. It is above all an opportunity to completely shift our ideas and behaviour about a resource we have taken for granted. Aside from that, we are waiting for a miracle.” Kaiser called on Cape Town residents and visitors to the city to opt for a quick shower over a bath. “An average bath uses 200 l of water – double the amount of water residents have now been asked to use on an average day.”


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

The water crisis in the Western Cape will lead to war and deaths unless urgent steps are taken soon, Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) said on Wednesday. "We know that we have asked for you to step down, but whilst you are still president we bring this urgent matter to your attention," the trade union said in a short open letter to President Jacob Zuma. "The rich have money to buy bottled water, whilst the poor will be the first to start dying of thirst, because there is no supply or disaster plan for the end of July to get water to communities when taps run dry." The City of Cape Town announced that it wanted to introduce Level 4 water restrictions which would ban all use of municipal water for outside and nonessential use and limit residents to 100 l of water per person per day. This means no car washing, watering of gardens, irrigation with municipal drinking water at all, and no new golf courses or sports fields to be built unless they will be watered with nonpotable water. Should Council approve the restrictions, it will be in effect from June 1. FINES The Level 3 restrictions had allowed watering by watering can for an hour on Tuesday and Saturday, but that would be out of bounds if the Level 4 restrictions are passed. Filling and topping up swimming pools would also be prohibited. The Level 4 restrictions would also come with sanitation tips such as using old bath water to fill the toilet cistern and not flushing each time the toilet is used. ''Use water only for drinking, cooking and essential washing,'' a statement from the city said. It wants every Capetonian to use no more than an overall 100 l of water a day. The proposed fines for overuse still have to be approved by the council and the Chief Magistrate, but they range between R1 000 and R5 000 for a spot fine. The city was also continuing with its pressure reduction programmes across the metro which forcibly reduces supply at a given time. Other emergency interventions are under way, and if required, the city will start to implement a lifeline supply of water across the metro. The city will announce the Level 4 restrictions if they are approved by council.


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

Water levels are continuing to drop gradually despite recent good rains that have been experienced in some parts of South Africa. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) on Tuesday said the national water storage decreased from 72.9% last week to 72.7% this week. This was, however, still above the 54% recorded at this time last year. “Water users are urged to adhere to water restriction measures imposed by their respective municipalities,” the DWS said, noting that low dam levels in the Western Cape were of particular concern. The Cape Town Dams System, which has six dams serving mainly the City of Cape Town (CoC), decreased to 20.8% this week from 21.7% last week and was below the 30.8% at the same time last year. “It is important to note that South Africa is a water scarce country and the current water that we have should be used wisely,” the DWS stated.


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

Water use in Cape Town must be brought down by 100-million litres immediately, the City of Cape Town said in a statement on Monday. “Dam storage levels are now at 20.7%, which is 0.7% down from a week ago. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being usable, dam levels are effectively at 10.7%. “Consumption disappointingly remains at 93-million litres above the consumption target of 600-million litres,” mayoral committee member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and Energy, councillor Xanthea Limberg, said. Limberg said, “We are asking all water users to reduce their water usage to 100 litres per person per day.” Cape Town was experiencing the harsh impact of climate change, with reduced annual average rainfall and abnormal water patterns. No sufficient rain is predicted for the next three weeks. The city has allocated R22m to employ additional staff for its first-line response teams who are deployed to attend to water faults reported to its call centre. Approximately 75 additional staff members have been employed to improve the city’s response time to water complaints. Since the implementation of water restrictions, the city’s call centre and first-line response teams have been inundated with calls about water faults and leaks. The city’s staff attend to approximately 800 water and sanitation complaints related to water leaks and faults on a daily basis and teams are doing all they can to expedite their response to water complaints. “We continue to use all current means to drive down consumption. There are some residents in this city who have already cut their consumption down to one-third of what they used to use, but others have seemingly taken the decision that their needs are more important than anyone else’s. “We will continue to crack down on those water users. Every single water user must use less than 100 litres per person per day. This is not negotiable," said Limberg. Residents have been urged to use water solely for drinking, washing and cooking and to only flush the toilet when necessary. They are also encouraged to take shorter showers. “Defrost food in the fridge or naturally rather than placing it under running water, use a cup instead of running taps in the bathroom or kitchen for brushing teeth, shaving, drinking and wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers. The rinse water from some washing machines can be reused for the next wash cycle.” The city has also urged residents to check for leaks properly. “One leaking toilet wastes between 2 600 and 13 000 litres per month, depending on the flow rate of the leak. A leaking tap wastes between 400 and 2 600 litres per month,” Limberg said. For more information and to report contraventions of water restrictions, email water@capetown.gov.za or send send an SMS to 31373.


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

The City of Cape Town has enough water to last until August or September at current consumption levels, an official has said. Any rainfall in the coming weeks would change this projection, but there was "significant uncertainty" over the rain forecast for June and July, mayoral committee member for water and waste services Xanthea Limberg said in written replies sent to News24 on Wednesday. Rainfall during April and May had been disappointing. "As such, saving as much water as possible remains key in case our water reserves have to be stretched over summer 2017/18," she said. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced on Monday that she had declared the entire province a disaster zone in a bid to avoid taps running dry. Economic Opportunities and Agriculture MEC Alan Winde said the decision was taken because winter rainfall had been below expectation. "We are being told that we should've had a lot more rain in this season already," he said. LEAK CHECKS In February, the city released a list of the top 100 water consumers. Limberg said they were reconsidering releasing an updated list. "The high consumption of many of the top 100 was due to invisible leaks rather than wilful wastage and, therefore, releasing the names of the streets in which they reside in an effort to facilitate community self-regulation, did not have the intended effect," she said. Limberg asked residents to do regular leak checks to avoid high consumption. They could do so by checking their water meter, turning off all the taps, waiting an hour, and taking the meter's reading again. "We are therefore calling on residents to spread the message to conserve water to their friends, colleagues and family, and to call out waste when they see it," she said.


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

South Africa will take two to three years to recover from the worst drought in a century but the Western Cape will feel the effects for longer than that, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said on Friday. Mokonyane said in her budget vote speech major dams were almost three quarters full, on average, by the beginning of the week but in the southernmost province the situation remained severe. “As at the 22nd of May 2017, the total capacity of the 215 major dams that are measured on a weekly basis, is at 72.6%,” she said. “We have not fully recovered and it will take a period of not less than two to three years to fully recover and worst for the Western Cape, with its winter rainfall where even climate scientists remain non-committal on the predictions.” Western Cape premier Helen Zille declared the province a disaster area on Tuesday, while Cape Town tightened water restrictions further, instructing residents not use more than 100 litres a day. Mokonyane said criticism that the response had been too slow, should be directed at the regional authorities. She added that the situation had been aggravated by tension between Zille and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, blaming it for a “severe delay” in declaring a disaster area. According to the City of Cape Town, dam storage levels were at 20.7%. The city stressed that the last ten% of a dam’s water was not usable and warned that consumption continued to exceed the target by almost 100-million litres a day. No significant rainfall has been forecast for the region for the next fortnight.


News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says the city plans to spend R315-million in the next three financial years to deal with the ongoing drought in the region. This came after Western Cape Premier Helen Zille declared the Western Cape a disaster zone last week to accelerate the deployment of resources. De Lille said the city will be accelerating emergency water schemes in the coming months. "[This] includes drilling boreholes into the Table Mountain Group Aquifer and a small-scale desalination package plant, located along Cape Town's north-western coastline," she said on Tuesday in a speech distributed by the city. De Lille delivered the speech at a Johannesburg Stock Exchange green bonds stakeholder dialogue in Cape Town. She said the city plans to issue green bonds to fund projects aimed to deal with the effect of climate change. A green bond is a tax-exempt bond issued by qualified organisations or by municipalities. The bond's tax-exempt status makes it attractive compared to other taxable bonds and provides incentive to tackle social issues such as climate change and moving to renewable sources of energy. "We need to be innovative and diversify our financing mechanisms and these efforts will require partnership with the private sector," De Lille said. The City of Cape Town announced on May 16 that it plans to introduce level 4 water restrictions which would ban the use of all municipal water for non-essential use and limit residents' water consumption to 100 litres of water per person per day. On Monday, the city said its feeder dam levels were at 20.7% with only 10.7% left for consumption.


News Article | May 29, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

In this article, Koeberg power station manager Velaphi Ntuli outlines initiatives under way at the nuclear power station to reduce water consumption and desalinate groundwater Cape Town is in a drought crisis, and it is predicted that this will certainly not be the city’s last water crisis. Dam levels are dropping at an alarming rate. The previous rainfall was not sufficient to fill dams. According to recent media reports, dam levels are sitting just above 20%, and the consumption rate is remaining stubbornly higher than the consumption rate target of 600 megalitres a day. A declaration of a disaster by the Mayor of Cape Town was issued in March 2017.  This has subsequently been followed by the premier officially declaring Western Cape a disaster area as the city grapples with its worst drought in 100 years.  The City has put plans in place to augment supply while also implementing demand-reduction initiatives.  However, the reality is that Cape Town is in a water-scarce region and is experiencing the impacts of climate change, in terms of increased frequency and severity of drought events. It would therefore auger well not to implement short-term solutions but rather look into a long-term solution to deal with this drought and with future droughts. The water levels in the six big dams that supply 99% of Cape Town’s portable water, indicate that the average water captured each year is not enough to supply all the potable water needs for Cape Town. What this means is that should Cape Town get the same rainfall as the previous three years, the crisis will repeat itself. Counting on the rainfall in Cape Town is therefore not a sustainable solution.  Cape Town will need to get an above average rainfall as compared to the previous three years and reduce the consumption significantly. Koeberg currently uses about 1 300 kilolitres of fresh water per day. In light of the current drought situation, Koeberg is driving various water saving initiatives to reduce potable water consumption by at least a third in the short term.  Some of these initiatives include limiting the amount of water used by various ventilation systems on the plant and using groundwater to cool some of the heat loads. These initiatives are over and above the mandatory requirements that are currently in-force as a result of the current water restrictions that have been implemented by the city. Good corporate citizenship is based on ethical and effective leadership. The concept that organisations have more responsibilities beyond the economic bottom line has gained traction industry-wide since the publication of the King IV Code. Organisations need to ensure that their operations have minimal negative impact on the society and environment within which they operate. Koeberg’s positive impact on the Western Cape economy was recently highlighted by an economic impact assessment study done by KPMG. A water crisis poses a threat to businesses and citizens alike. Eskom is of the view that the water crisis that is currently faced by the City of Cape Town cannot be the sole responsibility of the city to resolve. Industry should view this as an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the society and environment rather a business threat that is left solely to the City to resolve. Risk management is one of the priorities of Eskom and the management team encourages employees to openly share risks. Furthermore, Eskom has put in place a robust risk management process that is used to identify, evaluate, mitigate and where applicable treat risk. The current water crisis was evaluated using this process and it has come up as a Level 1 risk for Eskom operations at Koeberg nuclear power station.  As result this risk is receiving attention at the highest level in the organisation. In response to this, Eskom has decided to install a groundwater desalination plant at Koeberg nuclear power station. This process entails removing salts and other contaminants from groundwater to make it suitable for human consumption. In this instance, groundwater from the aquarium located near to the power station will be desalinated for use at Koeberg nuclear power station for its daily needs. The objective of this project is to reduce Koeberg’s dependency on, and consumption of municipal water supplied by the City of Cape Town. This effort contributes to the city’s goal, which is to reduce water consumption by 100 megalitres per day. This will also ensure that the power station has adequate supply of water available should the City of Cape Town run out of water. In addition, the implementation of a desalination plant will provide Koeberg nuclear power station with a reliable water supply during drought periods, to ensure safe and reliable operations. The implementation of a desalination plant is split into two phases. The first phase would be an installation of a simplified mobile unit. The second phase would focus more on the strengthening and integration of the desalination plant with other systems in the power station to increase its capacity. Koeberg already has a useful water infrastructure and the required permits for groundwater desalination. The fact that groundwater desalination is now much more cost-effective than previously supports the implementation of a desalination plant. It is important for Eskom to mitigate and even eliminate the risk posed by the shortage of water in the Western Cape to operations at Koeberg. Given the importance of the Koeberg nuclear power station to the Western Cape economy, and to South Africa, it is essential for Koeberg to be resilient.  As a result, Koeberg has seen the need to fast-track the implementation of a desalination plant to ensure that the risk posed by the current drought to its operations is limited. Eskom has set stringent targets for implementing this project.  A request for proposals has been published on Eskom’s website calling for appropriate suppliers to respond. The risk to meeting the challenging implementation schedule that has been set out by Eskom will test the ability of the market to appropriately respond to Eskom’s request in time. In addition to the initiatives that are under way at Koeberg, Eskom is collaborating with the City of Cape Town to pilot a seawater desalination plant using some of Koeberg’s infrastructure. This project will provide the city with the necessary information to decide on the viability of similar projects on a large scale. If successful, this might lead to a future where seawater desalination forms part of the city’s water supply mix pending approval by all parties concerned. Like electricity, adequate and reliable supply of water is essential for the economic sustainability of the city and Eskom has taken a stance to be part of the solution by availing resources to help alleviate the situation while mitigating the risk to its operations at Koeberg nuclear power station.  After all, principles of good corporate citizenship demand that companies minimise the negative impact of their operations on society and environment.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

The extremely worrying water shortage in Cape Town is an indication that climate change is an issue that can simply not be ignored by engineers and city planners, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has told consulting engineers in Cape Town. She told the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC)-Group of African Member Associations (GAMA) conference on infrastructure that the drought was a perfect example of this. “We are facing the worst drought in 100 years. For three years in a row, we haven’t received our winter rainfall yet. The pattern of rain has changed as well. Instead of a week or two of soft rain, we have short bursts and thunderstorms. Our storm water system cannot cope.” She said engineers needed to work on new methods. “The days are gone when we could rely on rain to fill up our dams. We need to redesign our storm water systems and look at other ways to collect water. “We want to move waste-treated water, but we only have one reticulation system. We need a second system where we can transport waste water.” De Lille further said the design of cities like Cape Town should be adapted to stop the urban sprawl, which had started during the apartheid era when people were pushed to the outskirts of the city. “Some people spend 40% of their income travelling to and from work. This must change.” The mayor said transport was being tied in with urban development in Cape Town, while density was being considered. De Lille challenged government and the private sector to come up with new and creative ways to raise money for infrastructure in the current tight economic times. “I am sick and tired of hearing the continuous excuse that there’s no money for infrastructure. It’s not necessary as you can make a plan.” She said the city had released 6 ha of land under the unfinished bridges in the centre of the city. The land, which had not been used for over 40 years, would be released for development, on two conditions – that developers use it to build affordable housing or to reduce traffic congestion. She said the City of Cape Town had committed to invest R6-billion a year in infrastructure. Sixty per cent of this would be spent on new infrastructure, with 40% going to maintain old infrastructure.  It had also recently launched Green Bonds to fund specific projects from water meter installations and upgrading reservoirs to sewerage plants. “We should not have to rely so heavily on banks such as the African Development Bank and the BRICS bank, as those grants are conditional.” De Lille challenged African governments and business to change their approach. “Africa must realise that the world owes us nothing. We need to lead as Africans especially in our cities, as cities are the drivers of change. We have to do it ourselves and manage urbanization.” She also took a swipe at cities and governments that don’t follow up on international conferences, such as COP21, as well as their own plans. “Implementation must take place. We can’t write policies and do analysis year after year, and not implement.” The Mother City Mayor said Cape Town had made great connections with other African cities. More direct flights to Cape Town have also been laid on, including from cities such as Addis Ababa, Maputo and Luanda. GAMA is a member of FIDIC. The conference has attracted 250 delegates from 17 African countries.


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

The City of Cape Town has set itself the goal of establishing Cape Town as a forward-looking, globally competitive business city, deputy mayor Ian Neilson said on Sunday. Cape Town already boasted some of South Africa’s largest food and beverage manufacturing companies, making the city a well-established hub for the sector, he said. According to the city’s economic performance indicators (EPIC) report for the fourth quarter of 2016, this was one of the few manufacturing industries in Cape Town that had a positive trade balance. As such, the sector was also an important earner of foreign exchange for the city. The city’s proximity to a vast and productive agricultural hinterland, an international port, a growing consumer population, and a relatively strong skills base made it a very competitive location in which to base food and beverage manufacturing operations, Neilson said. “The city has set itself the goal of establishing Cape Town as a forward-looking, globally competitive business city, which is one of our strategic priorities in the organisational development and transformation plan. We will continue to build an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation and foster a climate that is conducive for doing business in the city. “Exports by the food and beverage manufacturing industry have grown strongly over the past five years. This industry is also well placed to exploit the export opportunities that can be gained by a weak exchange rate. Additionally, the sector boasts the fastest growing employment rate out of all of the manufacturing industries,” Neilson said. The food and beverage manufacturing sector was the largest manufacturing sector by output, recording the highest growth rates in gross value add (3%) and employment (4.9%) over a ten-year period. Further, employment in the food manufacturing sector grew strongly at 6.1% year-on-year for the second quarter of 2016; Atlantis was home to one of only three wheat biscuit factories in the world; a strong cluster of spice and saucing companies were based locally; and the country’s three largest seafood companies had their headquarters and main production facilities located in the city. Cape Town was also home to two of the largest craft beer companies in the country; one of only two licence holders for bottling and distribution of Coca-Cola products in South Africa was based in Cape Town; a number of newer high-growth soft-drink producers had their operations were based there; and well established fruit juice manufacturers were also based in the city. Beverage exports from Cape Town grew by 21% between 2015 and 2016 and fish exports grew by 22.7%. “The industry can be considered as a comparative advantage industry for the city. There is a lot of scope for our food and beverage manufacturers to tap into the increasing demand for diversified, value-added food and beverage products,” Neilson said.

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