Thought for the Day 22 August 2018
I’ve just read that Cape Town’s dams have reached levels in excess of sixty percent, (Some as high as 90%) the highest levels since 2016. I think that’s great, but it does leave me with a worry that leads to my thought for today:
“Will Cape Town be damned by fuller dams?”
Sounds like a dumb question, right? I mean, how can they possibly be damned by fuller dams? Well, from what I’ve heard, all the measures taken to combat the crisis have been temporary and in the end they’ve been saved by the weather.
I know there’s been a lot of talk about tapping into underground water supplies and building desalination plants and so on. But I’m not aware that any of these more permanent ideas have yet come to fruition. The desalination project is considered ‘temporary’ for review later and initial volumes to be produced are small. Extraction from aquifers is on hold in favor of a ‘higher priority’ national project. Some test drilling is ongoing but no concerted action has been taken.
To date the majority of the action taken has been in the management of demand through water restrictions and stated intent is to continue with these until targeted ‘sustainable levels are reached – about 20% lower than at present.
To me, this smacks of “fiddling while Rome is burning’. This issue is not a demand issue it is a supply issue, aggravated by climate irregularities during the last two years. These will continue and Cape Town’s population will grow as will its economy. These are not speculations but facts. The demand will increase through the expanded needs of a larger population and increased business. The supply will continue to be unreliable, if left to the weather. Continued ‘talkie, talkie’ will not solve the problem, only decisive and sustained action will. And complaining about budget restrictions is an excuse, not a reason, to do nothing.
That is what I mean by being ‘damned by fuller dams’.
They may lull Cape Town into a false sense of security that encourages a dependency on demand side management as opposed to doggedly pursuing real solutions to the supply side of the crisis.
Then the crisis will become a disaster.