cape water

SA Army “ready” to guard Cape water sources if supply runs out

The South African National Defence force has confirmed its readiness to protect Cape water sources or collection points if dams run dry.

cape water

The SANDF has said that it is ready to deploy soldiers to protect water-carrying trucks, collections points and water sources if Cape Town’s water supply runs out. Currently, the dam levels show only enough useable water to last until March next year.

The army’s contingency plan also includes drilling boreholes in the province to help go off the water grid.

The Weekend Argus spoke to the SANDF about what role they would play in a “fighting” for water situation in the Cape.  The defence force revealed that in the near future people would be lining up with water containers (if water runs out) to collect their daily share of water at various watering points. All this would be done under the watchful eye of soldiers.

A situation like that falls part of the City of Cape Town’s Critical Water Shortage Disaster Plan. IOL breaks it down as follows:

* Phase 1: has been activated with water rationing through extreme pressure reduction (throttling).

* Phase 2: has been termed the disaster stage and plans include the presence of the city’s law enforcement and policing resources and SANDF to be deployed to ensure general safety throughout the city. Residents will be allowed to collect a “predefined quantity” of water from collections sites.

* Phase 3: the extreme disaster phase. This is when the city is no longer able to extract water from its dams. Non-surface supplies sourced from groundwater abstraction will be available for drinking purposes only.

Colonel Keith Aarons, officer commanding the Joint Tactical Headquarters Western Cape, and Lieutenant Colonel Adriaan Lotriet, staff officer for operations, told the paper their role in such a crisis was clear.

The pair has had multiple meeting with the province and local government.

“The first thing is to provide for ourselves and then to support the city and provincial disaster management systems. We first look at our own resilience. How can we get off the bulk infrastructure by harvesting and reuse?

“We have to look at our own augmentation with the proposed drilling of boreholes and desalination. We are busy with that assessment to see which areas the SA army engineering formation can come and provide the resilience to our own members. We need to do this for self-sustainment.”

The army’s contingency plan would also see soldiers protect water routes and provide assistance to SAPS with general crime prevention.