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De Lille unveils R3.3bn Cape Town water plan and warns of higher bills

17 August 2017 - 13:43 By Aphiwe Deklerk
City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on July 22, 2016 in Cape Town.
City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on July 22, 2016 in Cape Town.
Image: Gallo Images

The first tender was issued on Wednesday for a scheme to augment Cape Town’s water supply.

Unveiling the city council’s new water resilience plan on Thursday‚ mayor Patricia de Lille said a slew of other tenders would follow in the next few weeks.

They will seek quotes for:

- Groundwater extraction in Atlantis‚ Silverstroom‚ the Cape Flats‚ Cape Peninsula and Hottentots Holland;

- Land-based desalination plants in Koeberg‚ Silverstroom‚ Woodbridge Island‚ Granger Bay‚ Hout Bay‚ Red Hill‚ Strandfontein‚ Monwabisi and Harmony Park; and

- A desalination barge in Cape Town harbour.

Together‚ these facilities would provide 200 million litres of water a day‚ or 40% of the target the council has challenged consumers to meet.

De Lille said capital expenditure on these schemes would be R2-billion in this financial year and the next‚ and operating expenses would be at least R1.3-billion.

Costing of further augmentation measures‚ which would bring the daily output to 500 million litres‚ was still being done‚ she said.

Water tariffs would not increase in this financial year‚ but would inevitably rise in future.

“The city will do everything in its power to curb expenditure across the administration to reduce the impact on future tariffs‚ but it can be expected that tariff increases significantly above inflation will occur in the 2018/2019 financial year. More information will be communicated as financial models are finalised.”

The emergency and tactical phases of augmenting the water supply would last until June 2018‚ and the strategic phase would then begin.

“It cannot be stressed enough that the complexity of running multiple processes at the same time is a significant challenge. The stage is‚ however‚ already set due to work completed in recent weeks‚” De Lille told a media briefing.

“Bid specification committees have been appointed‚ the development of bid specifications is in progress‚ and the bids are registered on the demand register. In addition‚ engineering consultants have been appointed to assist the process.

“Each batch of tenders will be processed as quickly as possible. Council has provided the administration with permission to use emergency procurement mechanisms in order to ensure that Cape Town is able to achieve a safe supply of water‚ and has noted that procurement must be done within the bounds of the law and that all actions should be reported to council.

“Rapid procurement is further supported by the premier’s declaration of the region as a disaster area.”

De Lille said the resilience plan had been developed by a task team “supported by professional consultants‚ some of whom had experience in responding to droughts in other parts of the world‚ including Australia and California”.

Longer-term projects included recycling water at six treatment works and a marine-based desalination plant in Cape Town harbour.