With increased water demand, major augmentation of the City of Cape Town’s current water supply will be required, with groundwater likely to play an increasingly significant role. The following four aquifers are in or adjacent to the Cape Town municipal area:
- Cape Flats Aquifer
- Atlantis Aquifer
- Langebaan Aquifer
- Table Mountain Group (TMG) Aquifer
The physical nature of each aquifer varies widely, therefore the risk posed by contamination (pollution), any sea-level rise
(which will include saline intrusion) and climate change may vary for each aquifer. The Cape Flats and Atlantis aquifers are the most critical because they are located within the City’s metropolitan area – the other two aquifers are adjacent to the City and also need to be protected as far as possible.The Cape Flats Aquifer is not currently used for municipal supply but is included for three main reasons, namely:
- Groundwater is used locally for agriculture, industry and gardening.
- The aquifer is under consideration for short-term/medium-term augmentation.
- Any hazards impacting on the aquifer may also in turn affect the wider environment (e.g. rivers and wetlands) and, in turn, humans and animals.
The Atlantis Aquifer is used for municipal supply as well as agriculture, industry and gardening use. Any hazard impacting on this aquifer may also affect the wider environment with subsequent socio-economic impacts.
All aquifers are constantly monitored. However, any contamination in whatever form needs to be kept to a minimum so that we can continue to have access to this very valuable resource.