Spring is an oasis in water-scarce times

In these water-scarce times, it’s good to know that there is sweet water – flowing straight from mountain streams – available in the far south.

There are, in fact, two official sources, which both have their roots in times long before any habitation of the area. The collection points are at either end of the St James Walkway, a much better option than having to drive to the Newlands spring collection point at the breweries.

The one spring has been built up with two outlet pipes – housed in a structure resembling a braai chimney – and is at the bigger entrance of the St James walk-way.

This is colloquially known as the Corriemar Springs, although, as Michael Walker of the Kalk Bay Historic Association points out, the water is actually a perennial mountain stream.

“The area is full of streams, sometimes seasonal. Many homes draw their borehole water from this fresh underground water,” Mr Walker said.

This spring was made famous by Captain Gentry, a councillor of the Kalk Bay Muizenberg Municipality (1911 to 1913) and thereafter of the City Council of Cape Town until 1933.

His association with the St James Hotel was, Mr Walker said, legendary.

“He was connected with the hotel for over 23 years until his death in July 1938,” Mr Walker said.

Captain Gentry would personally collect what he referred to as the white water from streams and serve this to the hotel guests. The pure water from the mountain streams dearly impressed the guests.

“The water has been through all the sand and nature’s finest filtration system, and today it is the same – which cannot be said for tap water anymore,” Mr Walker said.

Just further up Main Road on the left, built into the wall, is another spring. This was locally called the Watergate, and is the self-same water just a different run-off point.

“This was traditionally used to water the horses, although being perfectly pure was just as good for human consumption,” Mr Walker said.

The house where this spring water catchment is, was built by Mr Garlicks who asked his stone masons to incorporate the trough specifically for the use of the horses and passers-by.

On Tuesday April 11, this spring had no water, but what Mr Walker playfully refers to as the “braai place spring” had a steady flow.

An enterprising man in Muizenberg has taken cognisance of the drought and used his knowledge of these springs to provide a much needed, and yet still eco-friendly, service.

Jerry Sambayi has been working in the Checkers parking lot since 2004. When he gets enough water together, he sometimes offers to wash people’s cars. The current drought gave him pause for a while, until he came up with a smart solution.

“I ask the bottle store to give me the water from their ice that has melted. And I collect water from the St James spring, and I use this water instead of tap water,” Mr Sambayi said.

His conscientiousness has been praised by many shoppers and publicly commended on the Muizenberg Noticeboard Facebook site, with residents giving him a thumbs up for his proactive approach.

To acquaint yourself with the current water restrictions visit the City’s water restrictions page on the website: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater.