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How groundwater can help - not solve - city's water shortage

Published: 01 April 2017 | Cape Business News

As the end of summer finds Cape Town's wa­ter supply in a precar­ious state, there are options for making relatively quick and expanded use of local groundwater resources - while acknowledging that groundwater is not the panacea for the city's water woes.

According to leading engineers and scientists at SRK Consulting's Cape Town office, the aquifers in the greater Cape Town area could offer some relief if current conditions endure, by taking pressure off the demand for potable water - excluding the conventional  exploitation of the Table Moun­ tain Group Aquifer.

''Groundwater sourc­es such as the Cape Flats Aquifer and the New­ lands Aquifer could be accessed relatively quick­ ly, and people are regu­larly filling up containers from one of the springs associated with the latter aquifer," said SRK cor­ porate consultant Peter Rosewarne. ''It would also be useful to conduct an audit of groundwater use in the greater Cape Town area - and to see how much more capac­ ity could be legally and sustainably developed by individual landowners."

Rosewarne cautions that even if fully developed, groundwater resources could only supply a relatively small percentage of the city's water needs. However, there is a great deal of scope for using non-po­ table groundwater·for industrial purposes and domestic irrigation.

SRK associate part­ner and principal hy­drogeologist Desmond Visser· proposed the installation of strategi­cally placed boreholes or well-fields in neigh­bourhoods where the groundwater·resource potential is good, to supply irrigation water to homeowners, parks, public buildings and sports fields.

SRK Africa