One-third of all public swimming pools will be open to the public over the peak summer season, thanks to innovate water reuse and recycling strategies in line with Level 5 water restrictions which are in place because of the severe and protracted drought and high consumption. Read more below:
The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department is reducing the number of public swimming pools open for business this summer as a result of the current drought crisis.
With Level 5 restrictions in place, the City is required to find a balance between compliance and providing quality amenities during summer.
A decision has therefore been made to open 12 of the 35 municipal swimming pools during the peak summer season. These facilities are distributed across the city to ensure equitable access.
The Atlantis, Strand, Blue Downs Indoor, Khayelitsha, Bellville, Vulindlela, Retreat, Mnandi, Eastridge, Kensington and Hanover Park swimming pools will be open from 1 December 2017 until 31 January 2018, between 10:00 and 16:00 daily. The Sea Point swimming pool uses seawater and will thus be open from 1 November between 07:00 and 19:00 daily during summer
‘Careful consideration went into selecting these facilities as they are easily accessible or located on a transport route. All of them have a maximum capacity of over 500 patrons and are equally represented across the four areas of the city. The goal is to ensure that the swimming pools are open as often and as long as possible, however, we must remind users that given the expected high usage of these swimming pools over the period in question, operating hours will need to be adjusted from time to time in order to ensure that water quality remains at an optimum level. These changes will be communicated to the public via our website and social media channels,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
The City will permit the opening of swimming pools for special events and competitions, but this will require an application to the area managers to ensure that such usage will still allow the department to conform with the requirements of the water restrictions.
All water backwashed from the swimming pools will be stored, treated, and reused and any water lost through evaporation will be replaced with water from the surrounding pools that will remain closed this season. The use of recycled water, along with the reduced operating hours, will ensure that no water is wasted and that no drinking water is used to top up swimming pools, in line with Level 5 restrictions but also the Organisational Development and Transformation Plan which aims optimise resource efficiency and promote innovative practices and technologies.
In addition, showers at all public amenities and ablutions will be switched off and waterless hand sanitisers will be provided at most public washrooms.
Some potential medium- to long-term considerations to ensure that all swimming pools can be opened in future summer seasons include using pool covers where possible, alternative water sources, and recycling of non-potable water. Converting some of the pools to sea water usage remains an option, although it is quite a costly exercise given the infrastructure required.
This is all part of the New Normal in City operations and is a reflection of the wider New Normal scenario in Cape Town. The New Normal emphasises that Cape Town is in a water-scarce region and all residents, businesses and other partners must adapt to this scenario which looks at how to become a more resilient city in future. The immediate demands of the extreme drought, however, necessitate massive reduction in water consumption. The City is expecting a harsh summer ahead and is doing everything in its power to ensure that Cape Town gets through as much of the summer as possible. The City calls on all Capetonians to do everything that they can to reduce consumption now, to mobilise their own businesses and communities to save more water, and to support the City in its drought interventions.
‘While we have a limited number of swimming pools available for the coming season, the City also manages a number of beaches and tidal pools and we encourage the public to make use of these facilities, some of which have retained their Blue Flag status for a number of years. Our lifeguards and enforcement services will be on hand to ensure the safety of beachgoers,’ added Alderman Smith.
A list of the City’s tidal pools can be found here: http://www.capetown.gov.za/Explore%20and%20enjoy/See-all-city-facilities/Our-recreational-facilities/Tidal%20pools
The Strand, Retreat, Blue Downs and Long Street indoor swimming pools will be open during the upcoming school holidays between 1 and 8 October 2017. Thereafter, they will be closed in order to prepare for the peak season and will reopen on 1 December, with the exception of Long Street, which will remain closed.