Cape water crisis: Natural spring continues to flow for public

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town confirmed that it is not closing down the the popular natural water collection point in Newlands, following allegations that the water source may be shut down amid the growing water shortage.

Councillor Xanthea Limberg, the Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, told Traveller24 that is in fact the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) that "regulates the use of groundwater and springs". 

The spring, which was believed to be closing down to the public, became a hot topic in light of growing water restrictions. Many locals saw the spring as "a blessing" as drought conditions continue in the Western Cape.

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After notification from Ward 59 councillor Ian Iversen, of the possibility of the spring closing, local businessman Raeez Rawoot started a petition and gained hundreds of signatures to support keeping the collection point open to public.

The spring, which is situated on land belonging to South African Breweries (SAB), has been recognised as a key factor in the history of the development of Newlands and in the history of brewing in South Africa.

"It is our understanding that SAB have a licence with DWS to use this water, and are allowing excess water to be collected by the public insofar as this is permitted by their licence," Limberg told Traveller24. DWS and SAB could not be reached by Traveller24 for further comment.

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The spring is still one of the main sources of water for the Newlands brewery, which allows each person to take a maximum of 25 litres a day. There's even a fortnightly water delivery from the local spring to your doorstep.

However, while the spring is improving many lives, some residents have complained about water collections becoming "a nuisance".

Limberg says that the City of Cape Town "received reports of residents filling up water tanks from these points, and would therefore like to remind residents that it is illegal in terms of national legislation to collect this water for commercial gain without the appropriate licence."

"In addition to this being illegal, it holds up other residents and can create a nuisance," she adds.                   

Limberg also told local newspaper, People's Post, that "residents are, however, advised that this water is untreated and thus consumed at own risk.”

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Cape water crisis

With minimal rainfall, the Western Cape's water crisis continues and the City of Cape Town says that dam levels are currently at 37.4% with useable water at 27.4%. Collective consumption is at 614 million litres of water per day. This is 114 million litres above the target of 500 million litres.

The City of Cape Town plans to install roughly 2 000 water management devices per week on properties of excessive users to force down consumption. See New24's full coverage here. 

Limberg says "We need the whole of society to stand with us and to help us to get through this drought, but also to start laying the building blocks for a more resilient city over our longer-term future."

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