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Today I visited the site of a pilot project for the abstraction of water from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMGA) at the Steenbras catchment area. The Table Mountain Group (TMG) is a deep-lying group of rock formations or layers that extends from Van Rynsdorp to Cape Town and from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

The TMG aquifers have the potential to develop a large scale scheme to augment the City’s water supply on a more permanent basis.

The City is currently drilling test abstraction boreholes in the Steenbras catchment area, which will inform the design of a full-scale wellfield and support a water use licence application for full-scale production.  The City has also identified other areas with access to the TMG aquifers that could be developed as part of the broader water resilience project that aims to ensure water security in the years beyond 2018. 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.

The yield from the first phase of the TMGA project will be approximately 10 million litres per day which will be pumped into the Steenbras dam. This project is part of the City’s commitment to do everything it can to bring additional water online as we face the worst drought in our recorded history.Capetonians have done well to save water- as illustrated by the fact that Day Zero has been moved out to 13 May next year – but we still need to do more if we are to avoid Day Zero altogether. If every person does not reduce his or her water use to 87 litres per person per day there is still a risk that residents will have to queue for water daily at collection sites across the city.

We can only beat this drought if we work together: each person saves water while the City brings its side of the bargain to bring additional supply online.

This is our commitment in action and I will continue to lead a team of dedicated staff who are looking at every possible solution to avoid acute water shortages. Climate Change means that we cannot rely only on rain water to supply our needs and we all have to fundamentally change our relationship with water.

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