‘WATER IS LIFE’ will be the theme for National Water Week from 17 – 23 March.
Various programmes with a water conservation theme will be held in communities and at schools to teach and inform the public about the importance of water and how we can save the resource wisely during the next two weeks.
It was, therefore, fitting that the Hermanus Business Chamber invited its members to discuss the greater scale of the Cape Town water crisis and how it affects the tourism in the Overberg region under the topic: the Crucial issue of Water Management during its meeting on 14 March,
Held at Arabella Hotel & Spa, speakers from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Fedhasa (The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa) formed part of the discussion. Also present was Overstrand Executive Mayor Ald Dudley Coetzee and Municipal Manager Coenie Groenewald.
In his presentation on the water situation in the Overstrand, Mayor Ald Dudley Coetzee emphasised that water is a scarce resource which has to be carefully managed going forward.
“At the moment Hermanus uses ± 10 million litres of water per week and the De Bos dam level was at 46% by end of February 2018, compared to 50.7% by end January 2018 and 74.8% by end February 2017.
The Buffels River Dam, which supplies water to Rooi-Els, Pringle Bay, and Betty’s Bay, is still at 85% of capacity, the Kraaibosch Dam at Gansbaai is also at 85%, and the Pearly Beach Dam is at 100%.
The boreholes supplying Hermanus, Stanford, Baardskeerdersbos and Buffeljagsbaai have not been adversely affected by the drought at this stage.
He continued by saying the first steps to increase water reserves will be the sinking of additional boreholes over the next two years. In addition to the boreholes, recycled water is the cheapest and easiest way for us to add to our water reserves. Longer term plans are to build a desalinisation plant in Hermanus.
“We have to consider ways to further augment our water supplies and will have to start re-treating our waste water. Not necessarily to drinking water standards, but at least to a standard where we can use it to replace potable water that is not used for drinking. We can no longer afford to flush drinking water down the toilet or use it to mix concrete or water sports fields and gardens.
At present we use 1,5 million litres water per month of treated effluent for the watering of sports field in the Hermanus area and there is a similar project in Gansbaai.
He added that people should be trained to invest in the use of grey water in their homes and that water efficiency should be built into planning approval.The use of taps that aerate the water for washing of hands and vegetables should be encouraged.
“We also need to channel our rain water run-off so that it recharges our aquifers and does not simply run into the sea,” the Mayor said.