Finding a way out of the Cape Town water crisis

5 April 2018
Ramboll is assisting Cape Town in its efforts to normalize the water supply situation by identifying high-yielding groundwater areas and suggesting a roadmap for including groundwater on private land in the city’s water supply.
Theewaterskloof Dam. (c) Per Sander.

Theewaterskloof Dam. (c) Per Sander.

Contact

Jan Kürstein

Jan Kürstein

Senior Consultant
T: +45 51613509
Per Sander

Per Sander

Hydrogeologist
T: +46 (10) 6153398
M: +46 (70) 3088140

Cape Town in South Africa, a large city with 3.7 Million inhabitants and seat of the South-African Parliament, is at risk of literally running out of water. The city uses to get its drinking water from surface water, but due to a long drought period, its reservoirs are now below 26 % of capacity. 

The day when this percentage hits 13,5 % will be declared the ‘Day Zero’. Tap water will shut off, water rations will become mandatory, and people will need to get their water from one of only 200 sites around the city. At first, Day Zero was expected to hit mid-July. Now, it has been pushed beyond 2018, and this gives the local authorities a little extra time to embed more water sources as for instance groundwater and sea water in its total supply mix. 

Focus on groundwater

On behalf of the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark Ramboll has been assigned to identify potential high-yielding groundwater areas and locate existing man-holes that can quickly get embedded in the water supply or become important reserves for future drought-seasons. 

Cape Town already has 22000 registered boreholes. However, groundwater is a privately accessed resource, and Ramboll will therefore also investigate the regulatory framework with focus on boreholes on private land and create a roadmap for implementation of relevant solutions.

Moreover, Ramboll was a part of a Swedish government delegation that visited the area recently to develop cooperation projects related to water supply security with local authorities and local consultants. These projects are also covering the Eden Municipality east of Cape Town who suffered from serious droughts in 2009 and 2010 and now work to become more pro-active in their water supply security.

“We are happy to assist Cape Town in a critical situation like this, and we hope that our investigations and solutions will contribute strongly to the creation of a more sustainable water supply strategy for the future,” says Jan Kürstein, water resource specialist in Ramboll Water. 

Because of the water crisis per capita consumption of water in Cape Town was limited to 87 liters per day in late 2017 and just 50 liters in February 2018.

Services we provided

Water Resources Management

Ramboll

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240 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NW
United Kingdom
Tel:+44 20 7631 5291

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