03 June 2005

Western Cape 'only has water for seven years'

The Western Cape will face serious water shortages in seven years' time unless something is done about water supplies.

An anticipated 2 percent annual increase in urban demand will put more pressure on the water supply, including the Berg River Dam that is still under construction.

Agriculture currently uses 30 percent of the water supplied by the province's five large dams, while the increasing urban demand accounts for the remainder.

This was disclosed at a public meeting in the Bellville Civic Centre on Wednesday by the organisers of the two-year Western Cape Reconciliation Study, which is under way.

Initiated by the department of water affairs and forestry, the study is aimed at developing strategies to reconcile projected water demands, and to ensuring that the city will have enough water in the future.

It also attempts to investigate and review a wide range of demand and supply options.

Isa Thompson, the chief engineer for National Water Resource Planning, warned that if nothing was done, "the current supply would be unable to meet projected urban and agricultural demands beyond 2012".

The initial list of options proposed by stakeholders conducting the study include desalination of sea water, use of well points and boreholes, water recycling for urban irrigation, industrial water recycling and aquifer recharge.

The study co-ordinators have also launched a process to establish the Berg Catchment Management Agency, aimed at managing water resources within water management areas.

Source: www.iol.co.za


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