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STATEMENT BY MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY; AND SOCIAL SERVICES, ALDERMAN JP SMITH

The City of Cape Town has once again started engaging with sporting federations on the use of sports fields amid the worsening drought crisis, in particular as it relates to the implementation of Level 6B water restrictions.

In terms of Level 6B restrictions, outdoor usage of boreholes is strongly discouraged. Usage of groundwater for irrigation purposes is limited to a maximum of one hour only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 or after 18:00. This restriction is necessary in order to ensure that the existing aquifer is not depleted, as this water will be required to flush the city’s sewer network in the event of a Day Zero scenario.

However, as far as possible, we will permit the irrigation of sports fields with borehole water to allow key sporting events and tournaments to continue. We are engaging with each of the sports codes to ascertain to what extent the various league competitions can continue. Each sports federation is requested to submit a list of their most important fixtures and the City will prioritise the fields required for irrigation with treated effluent or borehole water.In the case of soccer, the City’s 29 artificial surfaces will be used to accommodate as many of the major fixtures as possible.

It has been agreed that sporting federations and not individual clubs will coordinate the use of fields which are still in a playable condition for matches and practices to continue. The fields will be assessed and scored on a weekly basis to determine their suitability for continued use. This assessment is being done to ensure that the best interests of all parties are considered.

We recognise that the current water crisis is negatively impacting on the functioning of the various sports codes and we are committed to working with them to ensure that the impact is minimised, whilst still taking the necessary steps to preserve the city’s remaining water resources.

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