Ecologists warn that the City of Cape Town should proceed with caution as it continues to drill for an aquifer in the vicinity of the Steenbras Dam.
The dam falls under the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, which is a part of the Cape Floral Region. This region has been identified as one of the world’s 18 biodiversity hot spots.
The Table Mountain Group (TMG) Aquifer has, along with the Atlantis and Cape Flats Aquifers, been pegged as an extremely valuable water resource as the City estimates that the aquifer will be able to provide up to 60-million litres per day. This aquifer comprises of 4000m thick quartz arenite and shale, and extends from Van Rhynsdorp to Cape Town, and from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, making it the aquifer with the biggest potential to produce large-scale augmentation of the City of Cape Town’s water supply.
In 2017, residents of the Cape’s southern suburbs witness a low-flying helicopter carrying what appeared to be an oversized steering wheel, but were reassured by the device was used to identify underground aquifers and water flow that could be used by national government for provisional water sources come Day Zero.
It’s not a UFO: This amazing local technology, a helicopter flying an electro magnetic loop is doing geophysical surveys to determine prime locations for ground water abstraction from various Aquifers to augments our water supplies. pic.twitter.com/K88NxYf1N9
— Patricia de Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) November 26, 2017
According to Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, was and water services, no environment impact assessments were conducted prior to the commencement of the drilling, and maintains that none were required. Permission for the drilling to start was was granted by the national Department of Water and Sanitation, as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs.
Limberg also added that there are monitoring measures in place, and will keep a close eye on the effect of drilling on the biodiversity hot spot. She is, however, confident that the City’s current environmental approach is adequate.