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STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE

Today I joined City of Cape Town contractors who are conducting an aerial survey of the Cape Flats Aquifer. The survey is part of the City’s ongoing work to ensure that sufficient new water sources are brought on board as quickly as possible to address the drought.

The survey will confirm the prime locations for where the highest volume of water can be abstracted from the aquifers.

These airborne surveys will be conducted using a helicopter, like the one used today, that has a measuring device in the shape of a wagon-wheel attached to the underside of it.

The helicopter will be flying approximately 60 to 70 m above the ground using underslung measuring equipment (electromagnetic loop) flying around 30 – 40 m above ground. The method being used for the survey will not pose any danger to residents.

The land-based survey only requires a few pieces of equipment. No digging is required. We ask residents and farmers not to be surprised when they see these field workers or helicopter operations in their areas. As far we possible, we’ll also try not to conduct the surveys on private land.The City has commissioned a number of land-based and airborne geophysical surveys in order to establish the extent of the aquifers and to validate existing data and information on the aquifers. The surveys are designed to assist with the mapping of underground aquifers and groundwater flow.

The City has taken a cautious approach to the abstraction of underground water from aquifers in order to ensure that the process is both environmentally and ecologically sensitive.

The City will be tapping into the Atlantis-Silwerstroom Aquifer, the Cape Flats Aquifer, and Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMGA) to supplement surface water supplies.

A survey of the Atlantis Aquifer has already been completed and contractors will begin work this week in the Cape Flats region, more specifically in Philippi, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

The refurbishment of boreholes and other infrastructure at the Atlantis-Silwerstroom Aquifer has already increased production by an additional five million litres of water per day. It is expected that the Atlantis-Silwerstroom Aquifers will bring an additional 25 million litres of water per day from July 2018.

The Cape Flats Aquifer will bring an additional 25 million litres of water per day from June 2018.

The City is also drilling abstraction boreholes in the Steenbras catchment area.

The yield from the first phase of the TMGA project is anticipated to be approximately 10 million litres per day that will be pumped into the Steenbras Dam. The yield from the other areas of the TMG aquifers such as the Helderberg, South Peninsula and Wemmershoek will be approximately 50 to 60 million litres per day.

Other areas of the TMG aquifers are being assessed as part of the broader water resilience project that aims to ensure water security in the years beyond 2018.

All of the City’s augmentation programmes work hand in hand with Cape Town’s amazing efforts to save water and avoid Day Zero. It is also an opportunity for us to rethink our water mix, our relationship with water, and to ensure that we all thrive going forward as Team Cape Town.

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