OVERVIEW quality water, as do agri-processing concerns. Programmes include upgrading wastewater treatment plants, clearing alien vegetation and regular monitoring of water quality. The scheme encompasses the Olifants-Doorn and Breede rivers. The Wes tern Cape Department of Agriculture has launched a climate action plan called Smart Agri, which includes doing studies on conservation agriculture. The plan draws on the expertise of academics and companies in the private sector. One of the possible plans to add to the supply of the Western Cape Water Supply System is the Berg River–Voëlvlei Augmentation Scheme. This would entail pumping water out of the Berg River in winter, having first allowed for enough water to cover the ecological water requirements of the river and the estuary. The last time a severe drought affected the province, many of the towns along the Garden Route installed desalination and recycling plants. More than one of these facilities had to close because not enough care had been taken in choosing the site, so environmental issues and silting stymied the plans. However, Mossel Bay has a functioning plant and Lamberts Bay on the West Coast will soon have a 1 700m³ per day plant. This will be the sixth such plant installed by French company Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies. Other sites include Saldanha, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.
A water stewardship programme has been introduced in the Breede River catchment area. WWF-South Africa, Woolworths and Marks and Spencer are collaborating on a scheme encouraging stone fruit farmers to put in place systems that reduce risk to water supply and quality. WWF-SA also has a Water Balance Programme that works to increase the amount of clean water coming into the environment. Woolworths’ contribution to this plan involves getting rid of alien vegetation on the farm where it sources its wines (Paul Cluver Wines) and in the Leeu River catchment area.
Improving quality The introduction by the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and the Water Institute of South Africa (WISA) of the Blue and Green Drop Awards has been very successful. The nation’s municipalities receive scores reflecting how well they are doing in terms of providing clean water. In order to win a Drop Award (Blue for water quality, Green for waste treatment), water systems have to score 95% or higher. The DWS has allocated R4.3-billion to helping municipalities deliver water. The Interim Water Supply Programme will concentrate on 23 district municipalities. The awards are run by WISA with the help of consulting engineering group Aecom SA. Aecom assists municipalities in preparing for the audit and has a wide range of capabilities within the water-treatment sector, including bulk and reticulation water and sewage pipelines. The City of Cape Town won a C40 Cities Award in 2015 for its programme to conserve and manage demand for water. The Water Institute of South Africa has 1 800 members. It does research, keeps its members up-to-date and runs conferences. As in most areas of life in South Africa, environmental standards are set and maintained by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). The University of Cape Town’s Engineering and Built Environment Faculty has won a Water Research Commission prize for its work on the treatment of acid mine drainage.
ONLINE RESOURCES Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Agency: www.breedegouritzcma.co.za National Department of Water and Sanitation: www.dws.gov.za South African Water Research Commission: www.wrc.org.za Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority: www.tcta.co.za Water Institute of Southern Africa: www.wisa.org.za Water Resources Group: www.2030wrg.org
WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2017