Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Water Quality in Cape Town and South Africa

Dear all

The recent articles and letters in our local newspapers re water quality have all dealt with one individual and seem to be missing some facts.

On the 5th June 2008, our Ward Forum was presented with a "Cape town Catchment, Stormwater, River Management: Coastal and Inland Water Quality Report" for the 12 month period ending March 2008. Here are some of the findings:
Coastal: "The long-term trend still indicates a decline in water quality. The significant low compliance for the False Bay is again noted" and "Reasons for non-compliance of [various] bathing areas include sewerage water ingress into the stormwater system due to aged infrastructure, and the spate of load shedding that has led to power outages and sewerage spillages."
Inland: "Overall compliance remains unacceptably low."
For example of our 14 rivers in greater Cape Town and with regard to E-coli measurements, 4 are over 80% compliance with government guidelines which is considered good; 2 are 50%+; and the rest "bad". The worst is the Salt River with 1% compliance and the best Schusters with 100% compliance.
The last section deals with "Compliance of Final Effluent (treated sewerage) with Required Standard" and says "there has been a decline in the compliance as compared with the previous two quarters ending September and December 2007. Overall compliance remains unacceptably low."

I hope these statistics will show that the government is aware of the situation and that therefore reports from experts, especially ones who show how we can fix the problem, should be welcomed and not suppressed. I conclude with part of Dr Turton's conclusion in his report: "If Kennedy could commit his nation to putting a man on the moon in a decade, why can we, as a ‘nation’, not commit ourselves to overcoming impediments to the quality of life that each South African citizen deserves?"

David Lipschitz
Blaauwberg Ward 4 Forum Committee Member

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