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City releases latest report on coastal water quality <p>The latest report covers coastal water quality for a 12-month period from 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2020. It reflects the outcome of statistical analysis as set out by the National Guidelines of 2 400 bacterial sample tests taken from 99 sites along Cape Town’s 307 km of coastline. </p><p>‘The release of the second Know Your Coast report confirms the City’s commitment to transparency and disclosure about the quality of Cape Town’s coastal waters. It also serves as a source to inform and educate the public on the shared responsibility between all stakeholders to prevent the pollution of our inland water sources because whatever lands up in our rivers and canals drains into the sea,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.</p><p><strong>Disclosure of coastal water quality results:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">the Know Your Coast, 2020 report is now available on the City’s website at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. The report presents the key findings, as well as the way forward in addressing the identified challenges</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">the City is also publishing updated information on coastal water quality on our web portal every second week. Residents and visitors can access the web portal at <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">the City has recently added 11 sites to its existing 88 coastal quality sampling points. We are now monitoring 99 points, twice a month. These sites were added to improve our knowledge of coastal water quality and to assist us in addressing problems as and when they arise. The additional sampling points are located at: Three Anchor Bay, Glen Beach, Camps Bay, Noordhoek beach, Fish Hoek beach, Muizenberg at Surfer’s Corner, the Helderberg Marine Protected Area, Strand, and Gordon’s Bay. </div></li></ul><p>Importantly, the results of the most recent reporting period are added to a five-year rolling period – from 2016 to 2020 – to determine trends in coastal water quality for recreational beaches in Cape Town. </p><p>This five-year rolling period reflects the outcome of over 10 000 sample bacterial tests along the coastline to better understand where challenges are experienced and to identify interventions if required; and also to determine where interventions have been effective over the five-year period.</p><p>‘The 2020 report indicates that, overall, there have been no significant changes in coastal water quality in Cape Town between 2019 and 2020. Marginal improvements have been noted in some areas. Also, in instances of a ‘poor’ rating, this can mostly be attributed to three or fewer samples or discrete spikes in bacteria counts, as opposed to consistently high counts of bacteria. </p><p>‘Importantly, overall, the trend and pattern remains constant where stormwater outlets and river mouths remain significant sources of pollution. This confirms, once again, that sewer blockages and overflows, illegal discharges, and general urban run-off and waste disposal discharged via the city’s stormwater system and rivers have a significant impact on our coastal environment and coastal water quality. </p><p>‘The City is doing all it can to improve coastal water quality through various interventions. However, we cannot do it on our own. We need residents to assist by taking responsibility for their waste. The quality of Cape Town’s coastal water concerns all of us, and we have to work together to prevent pollution,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p><p><strong>In summary, the key findings are as follows: </strong></p><p><strong>Atlantic coastline:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">In 2020 the water quality at 19 out of the 24 recreational beaches and tidal pools met the minimum requirement for recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, etc.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">When compared with 2019, the water quality at seven locations improved in 2020: at Small Bay, Llandudno Beach, Scarborough beach, Beta beach, Maiden’s Cove (both tidal pools); and Camps Bay beach.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">The water quality at three beaches regressed into the ‘poor category’, among which Camps Bay tidal pool, Bakoven bungalows, and Hout Bay beach.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">When the data is analysed over the last five years (2016 to 2020) it shows that there has been a marginal water quality improvement at seven recreational nodes, especially at beaches along the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula, among which Maiden’s Cove, Camps Bay, Beta Beach, Llandudno, and at Small Bay along the northern Atlantic coast. </div></li></ul><p><strong>False Bay coastline:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">In 2020, the water quality at 15 of the 27 recreational beaches and tidal pools met the minimum requirement.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">When compared with 2019, the water quality improved at six locations: Frank’s Bay, Simon’s Town Long Beach, St James tidal pool, Muizenberg Station, Strandfontein tidal pool, and Gordon’s Bay.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">At four locations, water quality regressed into the ‘poor’ category: Boulders Beach, Clovelly, Mnandi Beach west and Mnandi Beach east. </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">When data is analysed over the last five years (2016 to 2020) water quality has shown gradual improvement at eight locations along the False Bay coast: Frank’s Bay, Simon’s Town Long Beach, Glencairn Beach, Muizenberg Station, Strandfontein, Strandfontein tidal pool, Monwabisi tidal pool and Gordon’s Bay.</div></li></ul><p>Beaches that do not have stormwater outlets or are far away from river mouths, usually have ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ water quality ratings. This highlights the impact of urban pollution on the coastline, and waste via the stormwater system and rivers on nearshore coastal water quality.</p><ol><li>The following areas reported chronic coastal water quality problems in 2019, and remained as such in 2020:<br>- Lagoon Beach<br>- Three Anchor Bay<br>- central False Bay; and<br>- Macassar to Gordon’s Bay</li></ol><p>The City is determined to improve the water quality in these areas. We will implement interventions to see an incremental improvement of the water quality along the False Bay coast in particular.</p><p><strong>How the City is intervening:</strong><br>It is the City’s responsibility to manage the network sewers and wastewater treatment facilities, which serve the population of Cape Town. We are continuously investing in infrastructure to reduce pollution and minimise the impact of our city on the environment. </p><p><strong>We have implemented interventions, and we are investing in infrastructure to incrementally increase our capacity to do so:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">The City has established a Coastal Sewage Spill Response Protocol to ensure City departments respond in a timeous, efficient, and well-coordinated manner to sewage spills that may impact our coastal waters. This includes clean-up procedures and the monitoring of sites after a spill.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Litter traps</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Public education</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Ongoing investment in stormwater and wastewater treatment infrastructure</div></li></ul><p>Abuse of the stormwater system and our sewer network is one of the City’s biggest challenges. This abuse has a direct impact on coastal water quality:</p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">The City responds to over 300 sewer overflows and blockages every day.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">In 2020, the Water and Sanitation Department cleared about 122 000 sewer blockages across Cape Town. Most of these (75%) were caused by people who are using the sewers as a dumping site for rubbish. The City spent about R350 million on the clearing of these blockages that could have been avoided.</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">Illegal discharge into the stormwater system remains a huge challenge. Our stormwater system is designed to channel the runoff from rainfall events, thus, if it is not raining, nothing should be discharged. However, this is often not the case as many people abuse the stormwater system to get rid of substances and this untreated waste flows directly into our ocean.</div></li></ul><p>‘I encourage residents, stakeholders, and others working in this sphere to go online and read the report. It provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the water quality at all of our popular beaches over the past five years. I also want to reiterate that the quality of Cape Town’s coastal water concerns all of us. We can improve our coastal water quality by sharing the responsibility through preventing pollution and to collectively reduce the amount of waste we release into our natural environment,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.</p><p>Please refer to the report for more information, and how and where to report blocked drains, illegal dumping, and coastal sewage spills. </p><p>The Know Your Coast report on coastal water quality for the 2019 calendar year is also available online at: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. This report was published in March last year.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2021-04-21T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#6ea692aa-a5ef-408f-b41e-0c34b64dcdcb;L0|#06ea692aa-a5ef-408f-b41e-0c34b64dcdcb|coastal;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#701faa20-450e-444a-a0fd-ec8ec3f57e06;L0|#0701faa20-450e-444a-a0fd-ec8ec3f57e06|water quality;GP0|#352cb5da-6a34-4bf4-959d-14dc8987a2b4;L0|#0352cb5da-6a34-4bf4-959d-14dc8987a2b4|water and sanitation10

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