City taken to task over water consumption

Residents are furious that the City is installing a lockable water meter at Zandvlei Caravan Park.

The City of Cape Town has thanked a Muizenberg couple for lifting the lid on water waste at a municipal caravan park, but will now lock the lid on the resort’s water meter, stopping the public from reading it.

The City installed a new meter at the Zandvlei Caravan park after Janine and Ferdinand Versfeld blew the whistle on high readings they had seen on the resort’s water meter – as much as 12 000 litres a day. (“Leak at Zandvlei Caravan Park addressed”, Echo, February 22).

But Ms Versfeld said that according to the new meter, water usage at the park, while it had come down, was still high – 13.4 kilolitres a day over a span of about ten days. With Level 6B water restrictions rationing Capetonians to 50 litres a day that’s enough water to supply 268 people.

The problem at Zandvlei led to demands for transparency from the City on water usage at all its other resorts.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, said officials were trying to get to the bottom of the high consumption at the “aging” Zandvlei resort, where some “infrastructure needs to be replaced”.

The City was checking for leaks on the site and address-
ing the resort’s consumption, which, he said, was “not the norm”.

Water consumption, he said, was monitored at all City resorts and “there is no evidence of water wastage at other resorts”.

But the breakdown of water usage at Zandvlei, which was sent to the Versfelds, has left them unimpressed.

Ward councillor Aimee Kuhl’s office sent Mr Versfeld figures showing that Zandvlei facility was packed at the weekend, including the picnic area.

There were 12 camp-sites occupied (six people in each plot) along with six chalets occupied (four people in each chalet) and there was the typical use from the caretakers house which houses six people, plus there were 169 visitors to the picnic area. The Versfelds were also reminded of the daily cleaning of the ablution facilities and chalets as well as laundry.

But the information, which was sent by Yvette Steven, Ms Kuhl’s
personal assistant, noted there was not a clear consumption rate for water usage for resorts through-
out the City of Cape Town. And
Mr Smith, in an earlier statement, said it was unrealistic to measure water usage of a resort based on
a residential usage of 50 litres a
day.

Ms Steven said “a proper investigation” was needed at all resorts to measure the consumption rate “fairly”, one that accounted for the fact that resorts had no control over visitors’ water usage.

Mr Smith said that in the short term, resort visitors were encouraged to stick to the recommended daily usage and not use the chalets’ baths.

He said the City planned to install meters to regulate water usage at each individual chalet, starting with Hendon Park as a pilot. Longer term solutions, dependent on available funding, would see showers replacing baths.

Mr Smith said resort staff living at Zandvlei – two adults and their two children – used 50 litres of water per person, per day.

Mr Smith said the City thanked the Versfelds for bringing the matter to the attention of the City’s staff. He confirmed the City would be installing lockable water meters which would prevent them from being read by the public.

“Yes, there will be a lockable cover placed on the water meter at Zandvlei resort. Residents are welcome to request, if they so wish, the readings from the office – as readings will be done on a weekly basis to monitor water usage.”