Justin Schonegevel, Wynberg
Dear Janine Myburgh (“Politicians at fault”, Bulletin December 14). You are very quick to assume that being a city politician is easy work and the choices they need to make are simple. We must remember Cape Town is coastal and in a new drought phase. The City needs to ask when it is the right time to implement desalination and other water projects.
Do you do it while you still have dam water? What if it rained enough to go beyond 60%? The City would rather extend the date of implementation of water projects to a point where it is guaranteed to be used. It would not wish to spend a couple of billion rand on a plant then it never gets used. That would aggravate what is already a political hot potato.
It must also consider whether it is environmentally sound as well as how to balance the pressure of the dams on the grid, as their substantial height above sea level creates a high pressure allowing water to flow out of your taps without the use of any pumps.
If the City is to add water into the system, the practical problem is how.
It would have to create a higher pressure inflow system to ensure it reached the entire city. Or should it pump water to the nearest dam to top it up and add to the pressure?
Ideally the easiest time to add new water sources to the grid is when the dams are empty.
The desalination plants won’t need to compete with dam water pressure and it would be easier to pump from sea level.
The argument to build more dams is not a solution. You can build 100 dams; if it doesn’t rain, they won’t get filled.
Our current dams are in the ideal catchments. When full and in good rain years, they are enough to provide water for our city.
Cape Town is under a lot of pressure from its citizens on several fronts: crime, poverty, jobs, housing and more. A politician is no expert on any matter and relies on services of professionals.
Maybe more experts should be joining the City and be willing to accept the risk of decision making with the city and not blame them.
Until experts are willing to guarantee their approach in case of error, the politicians have to use extra caution before agreeing to any one approach.
Every councillor is mindful of the cost of living.
So let us fix what we can and give support to council who are in the front and face full steam from every angle.
May we have a wet 2018.