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Dwindling water supplies in the Western Cape


Clanwilliam dam

In April 2016, the combined dam levels in the Western Cape stood at around 31% of full capacity.  This is the lowest level in 6 years.  Water demand in the Western Cape has most likely not dropped and it can be expected that water will become scarcer towards the end of the year.

Fortunately, the Cape is a winter rainfall area and the demand for irrigation water will plummet.  It is odd to think that all the parks and gardens of the Cape's cities are supplied with treated water.  This is mountain water that is treated in world class facilities transforming mostly lager looking tannin rich mountain water into crystal clear bottled water.  Regardless of the amount of water available in our dams, our gardens and parks are irrigated with bottled water.

Fruit farms use untreated, lager like water for irrigation of crops.  Should this not be done in the cities for irrigation of parks and gardens, for soccer and rugby fields?  Would that it were so easy.  The tannin lager water from the mountains tends to have a low pH and could cause corrosion.  True, but modern pipes are frequently fabricated from HDPE.  A substance that is robust, chemically inert and high pressure tolerant.  Fair enough.  And what about sediments.  Well sediments can be removed very efficiently via sand filtration - glorified pool filters.  Good point. Infrastructure.  What about infrastructure?   It will be hideously expensive to pipe untreated water to each rate paying household.  Yes, it would be expensive.  However it does not have to be all done in one day.  The process can grow incrementally.  All that is required is a decision.  Once a plan is in place, the process will progress inexorably to the desired outcome.

Grass sprinklers

Grass does not mind tannin rich mountain water


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