The water consumption at the Zandvlei Caravan Park is receiving attention from the City of Cape Town.
Astrid Trimm, the principal facility officer from the Recreation and Parks Department and spokesperson for Zandvlei Resort, had a company onsite this week, excavating the area at the water meter.
This was after the City had responded to the initial report by replacing the water meter (“Leak wastes thousands of
litres of water”, Echo, February 15).
Ms Trimm called out a company to investigate further, however, it was discovered that the new meter was clocking an equally high flow – even with no leak.
After confirming with the City that the new meter was reading accurately, resident Janine Versfeld queried how, if the readings were correct, the meter showed 134 kilolitres had been used by the resort in a period of 10 days.
On Wednesday, February 7, the False Bay Echo sent the City a media enquiry. Mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith responded on Thursday, February 15.
He outlined the history of the problem, saying that the City’s Water and Sanitation Department replaced the water meter in 2009 and, following investigations, the water pipes were then replaced in 2011 at a cost of just over R200 000.
He added that in 2015, there was another investigation into possible leaks following a complaint from the same resident, even though none were visible. “This included procuring the services of a leak detection company who found one minor sub-surface leak within the irrigation system. This leak was addressed. In addition, all outlets and taps at the facility were checked for leaks. In September 2015, a final inspection cleared the resort in terms of leaks,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith said the resident laid further complaints of water leaks in December 2015 and early 2016, based on their monitoring of the water meter. “No leaks were found; however, given that it was high season, the resort was full and this accounted for the water use. There was another complaint in April 2016 and a leak detection company was again brought onsite. No leaks were found. The Water and Sanitation Department issued a notice for transgression of the Level 2 water restrictions that were in place at the time and the resort was closed temporarily due to the reduction in water pressure to the facility. The notice was withdrawn a few weeks later after the resort was found to be compliant,” he said. Mr Smith said that in 2017, additional actions were taken, which included:
* Continuous minor repairs and monitoring;
* Baths converted to showers to reduce water consumption;
* Fewer showers and basin taps in use in line with water restrictions;
* Water saving signage around the facility;
* Hand sanitisers placed in toilets;
* Repairs to an underground pipe burst and an overflowing water tanker in December 2017; and
* Reduction of water pressure onsite.
Mr Smith said the City would continue to do everything possible to proactively monitor for leaks and address these as soon as they occur.
“Mr Versfeld is measuring the water usage of a resort based on residential usage. This is unscientific and unreliable, e.g. on average most residents are not home between 9am and 5pm in contrast to resorts where consumption is at its peak during that period. In addition, there is no benchmark consumption rate for resorts in the city to measure aggregate water consumption for Zandvlei resort. It is therefore left with the domestic readings of Mr Versfeld with no basis to test the reliability of statements. As indicated, repairs have been done onsite where leaks have been detected. However, a proper assessment needs to be done at all resorts to measure the consumption rate fairly,” he said.
Ms Versfeld responded to this by saying the bone of contention has been the extraordinary volume of water usage; not specifically leaks.
“If leaks are fixed and the water usage is still high, then the leak is not the problem and the City or resort management have yet to establish what the reason is for this rate of consumption – especially when the resort is quiet during the week,” she said.
Ms Trimm is equally keen to discover what, if any, aggregate there is for resorts across the peninsula. “I would feel a lot better if we knew what the aggregate was; and we had an idea of what was acceptable for resorts as compared to resi-
dential water consumption. We need to have an idea what
other resorts are using – that would help put things in perspective across the board and create a larger management framework for everyone to acknowledge and adhere to,” Ms Trimm said.
Mr Smith said Zandvlei resort’s management staff are monitoring usage on a daily basis to ensure water consumption is not extreme, which could indicate wastage or a leak. “The resort manager will on a quarterly basis procure a leak detector company to trawl the facility for leaks,” he said.
Mr Smith said the City takes the matter of water use and water conservation very seriously. “In addition to the measures already implemented, the Recreation and Parks Department is liaising directly with the Water and Sanitation Department for further advice on lowering consumption rates even further at the fa-