Water & Environment



On the 8th March total Dam levels were 23 % and are STILL DROPPING.  
At these levels we will run out of water as the last 10% is unpumpable.
Please see at the bottom of this page for a PDF with full details of the situation.

CITY OF CAPE TOWN 7 MARCH 2018 STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE DEPUTY MAYOR, ALDERMAN IAN NEILSON Continued savings must remain part of our long-term strategy to avoid Day Zero


The City’s dashboard for this week shows a slight increase in water consumption. This bucks the recent downward trend of the last few weeks. Overall consumption as at 5 March 2018 was measured at 537 million litres per day (MLD) which is up from 516 MLD consumption recorded in the previous week.


Dam levels have dropped by 0,4% to 23,6%.  Please see http://coct.co/water-dashboard/.


The City now projects that, if there was to be no rainfall, Day Zero would arrive on 27 August 2018. As this date falls deep within the normal rainfall period, it is no longer appropriate to project the date without any consideration of rainfall. Thus, provided we continue our current water savings efforts, Day Zero can be avoided completely this year. It is now up to all of us. If we keep on saving, we will not have to queue for water this year.


I would therefore like to urge all Capetonians not to relax their savings efforts. While we are feeling more confident of avoiding Day Zero this year, we cannot predict the volume of rainfall still to come. If winter rainfall this year is as low as last year, or even lower, we are still in danger of reaching Day Zero early next year.


Now is the time to entrench our water saving habits and ensure that the behavioural shift we have undergone in the past months becomes second nature. 


More and more Capetonians have met the challenge by lowering their consumption. Our water map shows a 5% increase in the number of households that used less than 6 kilolitres a month in January, as compared to December (see link below).


Our challenge now is to continue reinforcing these behaviour changes, and to spread the message among our communities, at the workplace, at home, at school. Everywhere we go, we have an opportunity to act as water ambassadors and ensure that each and every Capetonian is aware of the seriousness of the situation. There is no shortage of water-saving resources that can be distributed to ensure that everyone gets the message. 


A range of online resources can be found on the City of Cape Town’s website (see link below).


These resources include videos, presentations, posters, community water plans, checklists, stickers, water-saving tips, guides to finding and fixing leaks, greywater guidelines, and more. I would like to urge all Capetonians to make use of these resources.


The City is continuing to roll out its pressure demand management programme, and installing water meters at the homes of high water users. Together with our residents, we can bring consumption down to the required 450 MLD. If we redouble our efforts to ensure that every single resident uses no more than 50 litres of water a day, we will not only beat Day Zero this year but also avoid it next year. 


Please visit www.capetown.gov/thinkwater for all water-related information, including information on Level 6B restrictions and FAQs about Day Zero as well as tips to lower usage even further.


Also visit www.capetown.gov.za/watermap to see if your household is painting the city green to avoid Day Zero.

Many folks have been asking/wondering why the Upper Steenbras Dam is so full and how this is possible. I will here show the full detail.

 There is a  Hydro-electric scheme owned by the city, which is used to supplement peak power demand periods, usually between 6-9am and 4-8pm. This generation is made possible by running water down the HH mountainside through turbines located near the bottom. The water used is stored in a small dam, and at night (or any low demand period) when there is unused (paid for) power capacity, the water is pumped back up the hill. So it is important to keep this dam near full. It has a capacity of about 7% of the capacity of TWK, so it's really not much water. It would, however, provide the city with about 40 days of water (at current usage), but we may then have load shedding again!
Peter Johnston PhD


  Watershed ruling for Cape Town’s rivers, floodplains and wetlands 

The Western Cape High Court’s judgment in the Disa River case can be described as a watershed ruling for the preservation of Cape Town’s rivers, floodplains, and wetlands. The court has ordered the developer of the Hout Bay Beach Club to remove the soil, general rubble, and fill that was placed within the floodplain of the Disa River within 45 days. Read more below:


On 2 February 2018, World Wetlands Day, the Western Cape High Court ordered Really Useful Investments (Pty) Ltd, the developer of the Hout Bay Beach Club, to remove the material from the floodplain of the Hout Bay River, colloquially known as the Disa River, that was dumped there in 2011.


Really Useful Investments started infilling part of the wetland and floodplain of the Disa River in 2011 in order to develop its property, much to the ire of Hout Bay residents.


Although the land is privately owned, the court has found that infilling is in contravention of the City’s Stormwater Management By-law which prohibits land owners from dumping any material in a river, floodplain or wetland, or to reduce the capacity of the stormwater system (which includes floodplains) without the written consent of Council.


In April 2011, the City served a notice of contravention of the Stormwater Management By-law on the developer, which required it to immediately stop infilling into the floodplain of the Disa River and to remove the fill material that was placed within the floodplain. The City’s Environmental Management Department followed this with a directive in terms of the Environment Conservation Act which required that the fill material be removed from the floodplain. 


Although Really Useful Investments at first indicated that it would comply with the directive, by late 2012 only a part of the wetland had been restored, and the fill material remained in stockpiles and spread out on the floodplain.


In 2014 the City commenced with court proceedings in an effort to force Really Useful Investments to comply fully with the notice and directive that had been served, while Really Useful Investments instituted its own court action in an attempt to claim compensation from the City. The compensation claim was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2015.


The City’s proceedings were delayed as both parties sought to find an amicable settlement, but when these efforts proved fruitless the City’s application was finally set down for hearing in court. 


On 2 February 2018 judgment was handed down. The court declared the infilling of the floodplain to be in contravention of the Stormwater Management By-law. Furthermore, the court found that Really Useful Investments has failed to comply with the directive in terms of the Environment Conservation Act and directed them to do so within 45 days of the judgment.


Thus, the court has ordered Really Useful Investments to remove the soil, general rubble, and fill that was placed within the floodplain of the Disa River within 45 days. Should it not comply with the order, the City is authorised to enter the property and to remove the material, and to recover the costs from Really Useful Investments.


‘The outcome of the Disa River case in the Western Cape High Court is a major victory for the City. We do all we can to protect rivers, wetlands and floodplains, particularly as these form an essential part of Cape Town’s natural environment and biodiversity,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.


‘Furthermore, this judgment sends a strong message to developers that they should abide by the City’s policies and by-laws.


‘The City’s Environmental Management Department has vigorously pursued this matter since 2011 given that protecting the wetland and floodplain of the Disa River is of extreme importance to the ecological  health and functioning of the watercourse.  Environmental Management will keep on monitoring the situation to ensure that Really Useful Investments abides by the court order, and that it does what is needed to restore the integrity of the Disa River,’ said Councillor Herron.


Really Useful Investments has also been directed to pay the City’s legal costs. End

Invasive Alien Vegetation is a serious problem in South Africa, where it usually has a negative impact on our scarce water resources. Click on the images below to see a larger picture to help you identify the Good and the Bad. The trouble is that 'Ugly' is missing because invasive alien plants often look attractive, which is why people plant them!

One of CIBRA's members (Mike Jennings) has written a review of the Alien Vegetation situation which you can read by clicking on the Word document titled 'CIBRA Invasive alien plants in and around Cape Town May 2015' in the list below:
Below is a list of useful documents to view and download, and under that a list of Internet links to more documents and some Websites of interest. NB please also look at our Waste Recycling page as waste disposal is a massive problem.


We regret that the City has altered their website and all the old links to documents no longer work.
The headings below should be entered into the search block on the City website 
which will then show the relevant material for Environment documents, maps and pamphlets:

CCT Nature Reserves booklet:

CCT Nature Reserves Pamphlet:

CCT Nature Reserves Webpage:

 Air Quality booklet:

Company Gardens self guided walk map:

Centre for Environmental Rights website:

Dictionary of Environmental words website page:

Enviroworks Newsletter webpage:

Understanding Baboons leaflet:

Mitigation measures against Shark attacks document:

Shark based Tourism and encounters document:

Tips on Shark Safety document:

White Shark Facts document:

CT unique Biodiversity Vegetation document:

Important Taxa of the vegetation types document:

List of Endemic species document:

List of threatened species document:

Tree management policy document:

Integrated Metropolitan Environmental Policy document:

Cape Town Green Map website:

Parks development Policy document:

Public Parks By-Law document:

CIBRA Cape Town,
Mar 19, 2018, 8:37 AM