On Wednesday the Argus reported that Wesgro chief executive, Tim Harris, said Cape Town “is setting international best practice by reducing water consumption from 1.2 billion litres per day to 515 million litres per day”. What piffle. Residents of an aspirational ocean city that sits in the sunshine should be able to take a shower as often as we want, fill our swimming pools and flush our toilets. Without guilt or sanction.
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The midgets in the Civic Centre tell us “if its yellow, let it mellow”. Without lubrication the sewers are starting to back up and overflow and in my area visits from the City Hall to clear blockages has become big business. A smelly operation that requires huge amounts of water to be injected to get things going. How stupid is that?
On Thursday the Argus reported that Cape Nature botanist Rupert Koopman urged us “to give up the idea of not watering gardens because they are incredibly important in reducing temperatures.
“We need to cool down our cities and trees and shrubbery play an incredibly important part.
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The PHA Summit in April heard that Cape Town “receives four times the water we need but this flows into the sea via the bulk stormwater infrastructure. But this water could instead be harvested into retention ponds”.
While contemplating their navels our politicians and City planners authorise huge incremental increases in water demand from the construction boom in new apartments and hotels. The Argus regularly reports the outrage of Sea Point residents about the overbuilding that is going on in their area.
None of us likes to be the laughing stock. Our politicians and City planners need to suspend all new building permits for the next five years and invest in water infrastructure. When we can wash and pee with dignity again, then is the time to resume a balanced approach to housebuilding.
* Donald Cameron, De Waterkant.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.