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Coastal water quality<h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​Why is water quality assessed?</h2><p>Water quality is assessed to keep the City, its residents and its visitors informed about the state of our coastal environment. We apply the <a href="" target="_blank">National Water Quality Guidelines</a> at all of our sampling points, to determine a water quality “category” for that area. </p><p> Our annual Know Your Coast report provides reasons and analysis for any sites where the water quality category is ‘poor’. We make every effort to update the category for each site; and share the most recent results with you twice a month. </p> <span> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​How is water quality assessed?</h2> <p>We monitor indicator bacteria in seawater collected at 90 sites between Silwerstroomstrand on the Atlantic coast and Kogel Bay on the eastern shore of False Bay, over a distance of 307 km. Water samples are collected in the surf zone and in tidal swimming pools, fortnightly. </p> <p>The samples are analysed by our Scientific Services unit and categorised as excellent, good, sufficient, or poor, based on a 12-month,365-day rolling period. Results are determined using a complex statistical calculation method, as set by the <a href="" target="_blank">National Guidelines</a>. For most healthy people, water quality that meets acceptable standards (‘sufficient’ or above) will pose little risk to their health. </p> <p>The City prepares a report on water quality for the period 1 December - 30 November annually. The latest report is available below: </p> <div class="content-accordion"><div class="content-trigger contentTrigger"><h3>​​Annual water quality reports<i class="icon button-down-arrow"></i></h3><div class="content-toggle contentToggle" style="display:none;"><p> <a href="" target="_blank">Know Your Coast 2023 Report</a><br><a href="" target="_blank">Know Your Coast 2022 Report</a><br><a href="" target="_blank">Know Your Coast 2021 Report</a><br><a href="" target="_blank">Know Your Coast 2020 Report</a><br><a href="" target="_blank">Know Your Coast 2019 Report</a></p></div></div></div> <p>We aim to run a statistical analysis for each site twice a month. The newest data, as well as the current water category outcome is added to a review table. </p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info note">​​​</i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Please note</h4><p>There is currently a delay in Enterococci sampling from the Scientific Services Department due to unforeseen circumstances. The Enterococci results are used as the basis to report the coastal water quality categories on the ratings table. We are uploading the raw data for E.coli analysed in our lab until this matter is resolved.<br></p></div></div></span> <p> You can view the latest results below:</p> <span> <div class="infographic bg-font-adjust-bg">​​​​​​​​​​ <figure> <img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" /></figure> <figcaption> <p> <span class="infoGraphicSpan"> <strong>water quality REVIEW<br></strong></span><br>​​Download the latest water quality review table</p> <a title="title" class="btn dark-blue" href="" target="_blank"><i class="icon download"></i>Download PDF</a> </figcaption> </div></span> <h2 class="sectHeading"> Some key points</h2> <ul><li>Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, there was a break in coastal water sampling between 23 March and 30 June 2020.</li><li>Sampling results in July and August 2020 will reflect higher bacterial counts This is because of high rainfall during this period, which washed urban pollution into the shoreline. </li><li>With the break in sampling and the impact of rainfall in July and August 2020, the current category outcomes will be negatively impacted. </li><li>Stormwater and river discharges remain the biggest impact on near-shore water quality. </li></ul> <h4>The following areas are considered to have chronic coastal water quality problems:</h4> <ul><li>Central False Bay; </li><li>Lagoon Beach (Milnerton); </li><li>Macassar to Gordon’s Bay; and </li><li>Three Anchor Bay (Sea Point).</li></ul> <p>We are determined to improve water quality in these areas and will implement interventions to achieve this, especially along the False Bay coastline.</p> <h2 class="sectHeading">Tips for a safer beach experience </h2> <ul><li>Avoid swimming for 12 to 24 hours after moderate to heavy rainfall. Rainfall increases the possibility of poor water quality, as it washes pollution from land and overflowing sewers into the ocean. This advice applies particularly to beaches where the water quality is rated “sufficient” or “poor”. </li><li>Avoid swimming near the mouths of estuaries and sheltered lagoons. The water quality might be of a poorer quality. </li><li>Avoid swimming in the sea or paddling in rock pools close to stormwater outlets. </li></ul> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​What you can do to boost and maintain coastal water quality</h2> <p>We are committed to protecting Cape Town’s coastal resources, however, we simply do not have the resources to control all sources of pollution. Here are some actions you can take at the beach, at home and at work to help improve coastal water quality.</p> <ul><li>Do not flush nappies, female hygiene products, ear buds and cigarette butts down the toilet. This can lead to sewer blockages, which causes overflows into the stormwater drainage system, and impacts on coastal water quality. </li><li>Do not leave food and other waste on the beach. Food waste can attract birds and rats, which are sources of faecal bacteria and pathogens. </li><li>Do not litter. Rain can wash litter into stormwater systems, which eventually ends up in our rivers, estuaries or the sea. Plastic is a major pollutant of coastal waters. </li><li>Do not throw anything into stormwater drains, including pet waste, garden clippings, street sweepings and other waste. Stormwater eventually flows into rivers, estuaries or the sea, transferring these items and the associated contaminants into the water. </li><li>Take a bag with you for collecting plastic and other rubbish when you walk on the beach. Even if you collect and properly dispose of only a few items of waste, every bit helps. </li><li>Only walk your dog on <a href="" target="_blank">dog-friendly beaches</a>, and remember to pick-up and dispose of your dog’s waste properly - do not bury it in the sand. Dog waste contains high numbers of bacteria and pathogens, which affect water quality. </li><li>Restaurants and households should dispose of fat, oil and grease properly. These substances should never be poured down the drain (fat hardens in water). This can lead to blocked sewers and overflows into the stormwater drainage system, affecting coastal water quality. </li><li>Keep the road verge near your home or business property clean. This will prevent foreign matter from blocking the stormwater system or ending up on the coast. </li><li>Stormwater is a major factor affecting coastal water quality in cities. At your home and business property, make sure you direct the rainwater runoff from paved and tarred surfaces and roofs onto vegetated areas wherever possible. </li><li>Use pavers with gaps on driveways. This will reduce the amount of runoff entering the stormwater system and retain contaminants in the runoff. </li><li>Report any pollution incidents you might come across using our <a href="">service request tool</a>.<br></li></ul> <h2 class="sectHeading">Marine outfalls</h2> <p>Marine outfalls are widely used in coastal cities across the world to dispose of wastewater generated by humans. The outfalls discharge wastewater into the sea with minimal loss or impact on the environment as long as the wastewater does not exceed the assimilative capacity of the ocean. <br></p> <p>Read the <a href="" target="_blank">Marine Outfalls FAQs</a> for more information.<br></p> <p> Once disposal of wastewater exceeds the assimilative capacity of the marine environment, environmental degradation and loss quickly follows. In the case of offshore marine outfalls, the intention - through engineering design - is to release wastewater in a very large, open and powerful ocean system where dispersion and assimilation of wastewater is rapid. </p> <p>The resources below reflect six years of research undertaken by external independent experts in the field of marine science and pollution. The reports collectively make up the Marine Outfall Monitoring Report, which presents findings for all three of the City’s marine outfalls, namely: Camps Bay, Green Point and Hout Bay. </p> <div class="content-accordion"><div class="content-trigger contentTrigger"><h3>​​Reports<i class="icon button-down-arrow"></i></h3><div class="content-toggle contentToggle" style="display:none;"><p> <strong>Environmental Summary Reports (ESR)</strong><br><a href="" target="_blank">Camps Bay</a> (3.29 MB)<br><a href="" target="_blank">Green Point</a> (3.37 MB)<br><a href="">Hout Bay</a> (2.65 MB)<br></p><p> <a href="" target="_blank">Coastal Management Report: Marine Outfalls</a> (996 KB)<br></p><p> <strong>2016 - 2022 Research used to inform ESRs</strong><br><a href="">Full CSIR 2017 Outfall Assessment Report</a> (19.0 MB)<br><a href="">Numerical Dispersion Modelling Reports for Cape Town’s Marine Outfalls</a> (36.5 MB)<br><a href="">Sea Water Quality Monitoring Reports: Reports for each of the Six Seasons</a> (63.9 MB)<br><a href="" target="_blank">Preliminary Biodiversity Assessment: Camps Bay Marine Outfall</a> (1.88 MB)<br><a href="" target="_blank">Initial Benthic Macrofauna Survey: Camps Bay Marine Outfall</a> (1.39 MB)<br><a href="">Assessment of Pharmaceutical Compounds in Cape Town’s Coastal Waters: Winter and Summer</a> (18.2 MB)</p></div></div></div> <div class="content-accordion"><div class="content-trigger contentTrigger"><h3>​​Videos<i class="icon button-down-arrow"></i></h3><div class="content-toggle contentToggle" style="display:none;"><p> <strong>​​Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) Surveys</strong><br> <a href="">Camps Bay</a> (85.3 MB)<br><a href="">Sandy Bay</a> (85.4 MB)<br></p></div></div></div> <h4>Learn more about Cape Town’s coastline, beaches and coastal amenities:</h4> <ul><li> <a href="">Conserving our coast </a></li><li> <a href="">Our beaches </a></li><li> <a href="">Our coastal resorts </a></li><li> <a href="">Our tidal pools</a> </li><li> <a href="">Our unique coastline</a></li></ul> <p>Contact our <a href="">Environmental Management Department </a>for more information.</p></span>GP0|#d8b7807d-bfae-4611-bd18-d40a668bcfa3;L0|#0d8b7807d-bfae-4611-bd18-d40a668bcfa3|Coastal water quality;GTSet|#ef3a64a2-d764-44bc-9d69-3a63d3fadea1;GPP|#18da33b4-b150-4fb2-9409-e82d667ad4dd;GPP|#553ce1f7-0fea-434b-bbc1-744edbd62039;GPP|#c529c1ac-1f8d-48ae-8079-d34f4dae9c57;GP0|#56ee912a-522b-465d-9df1-6b6d31f221d3;L0|#056ee912a-522b-465d-9df1-6b6d31f221d3|Coastal water quality;GPP|#69af3a35-ae90-45eb-8557-9dcd3cb9880b;GPP|#36dcb5fe-6bfc-4ae9-92d7-8bd08d1f6414;GPP|#af370586-9ba3-404a-9d6e-02066ca42752;GP0|#943b6787-6fab-44fc-82f5-f0465f85f6cc;L0|#0943b6787-6fab-44fc-82f5-f0465f85f6cc|Coastal water quality;GPP|#2c6b5e3d-3b66-464a-b566-c75e062c96c7;GPP|#0d3239d7-7f51-4f27-91a0-72970cba1d46;GPP|#e88ff549-973f-4e3c-a46c-cfbe61bd6a24Find out about the quality of Cape Town’s coastal waters and what the City is doing to improve the situation; and how residents can contribute to reduce our collective impact on our natural environment.0



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