City creates committee to focus on cleaner waterways

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis. PICTURE: PHANDO JIKELO (ANA)

The City of Cape Town has earlier this month on Wednesday April 6 in Milnerton, announced the establishment of a new water advisory committee.

According to a press release by the City, this committee will be tasked with working on the quality and cleanliness of Cape Town’s rivers, vleis and waterways.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis officially announced the formation of this new committee, named The Water Quality in Wetlands and Waterways Advisory Committee.

“Cape Town has a dedicated community of water activists and experts. Some of them have worked on these issues tirelessly for years.Our government sees these activists as partners and friends in the essential work of cleaning up our waterways.

“They are not enemies or people to be shut out of our plans. Cleaning up our waterways will be monumentally difficult, and our best chance of success is in working together in strong, and accountable relationships,” said Mr Hill-Lewis.

In addition to the formation of the new committee, the City also announced its undertaking to share the City’s water quality data publicly on their Open Data Portal.

“Both of these announcements will build on these relationships by drawing the activist and expert community right into the heart of our government’s plans to clean up these waterways.

“Activists and experts who have struggled to access data before, will now see data in full, freely available on our open data portal, and without any of the restrictive terms of use that were applied in the past,” added Mr Hill-Lewis.

According to City information, the committee will bring together water industry experts, city councillors, community activists, and interested residents and will report to the Mayoral committee twice a year. All processes concerning the term duration, terms of reference, membership and structure of the committee has also been finalised said the City.

Mr Hill-Lewis, who serves as committee chairperson, outlined the committee’s function. “The committee is created to bring water activists and experts from across the city together to recommend strategies to mitigate water pollution and ensure the long-term protection and restoration of wetlands and waterways in Cape Town.”

Councillor Alex Lansdowne, an experienced botanist and conservationist, will manage the committee and lead its functioning. Alderman Eddie Andrews, who is the mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Councillor Zahid Badroodien mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, and Councillor Maryam Manuel will serve as members from the City of Cape Town.

Additional members include: Dr Liz Day, an aquatic ecologist; Professor Jenny Day; Dr Kevin Winter, aquatic ecologist; Ms Denisha Anand, community conservation specialist; Phillip McLean, environmental compliance expert, Sinethemba Luthango, management at Khayelitsha Wetlands; and Caroline Marx, Milnerton Residents’ Association member and water activist.

The data from the City’s Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) will be automatically uploaded onto the Open Data Portal.

The public can access the data online at, https://odpcctegis.opendata.arcgis.com/documents/inland-water-quality/about

One of the tasks of the newly formed committee is to curb water pollution and preserve and protect waterways including local rivers. Pictured above, one of the local rivers, the Eerste River flowing near Coetzenburg in Stellenbosch. PICTURE: ALAN TAYLOR