City of Cape Town using ‘wagon-wheel’ to survey Cape Flats aquifer

cape flats aquifer survey patricia de lille cape town

If you happen to see a helicopter flying overhead with a UFO-like “wagon-wheel attached to the underside of it”, don’t worry, that’s just the City of Cape Town this week surveying the Cape Flats aquifer.

In a statement published to the City of Cape Town’s media portal, mayor Patricia De Lille outlined the process that will map the aquifer.

This is another step in the City’s groundwater extraction plan.

“These airborne surveys will be conducted using a helicopter, like the one used today, that has a measuring device in the shape of a wagon-wheel attached to the underside of it,” De Lille notes.

“The helicopter will be flying approximately 60 to 70 m above the ground using underslung measuring equipment (electromagnetic loop) flying around 30 – 40 m above ground.

“The method being used for the survey will not pose any danger to residents.”

Although a rather nifty piece of electronics, it does resemble something you’d more likely find in a swimming pool.

The Cape Flats aquifer is currently one of three underground water reservoirs being investigated by the City, including the Atlantis-Silwerstroom and the Table Mountain Group aquifer.

While the Table Mountain Group aquifer is currently being drilled by the City, the Atlantis-Silwerstoom aquifer has already undergone a survey. The City notes that work will begin to extract water from the latter “this week”.

“The refurbishment of boreholes and other infrastructure at the Atlantis-Silwerstroom Aquifer has already increased production by an additional five million litres of water per day. It is expected that the Atlantis-Silwerstroom Aquifers will bring an additional 25 million litres of water per day from July 2018,” De Lille continues.

Notably, the Cape Flats aquifer will also only supply 25-million litres of water per day to Cape Town in June 2018. This may be one month after the current Zero Day of 6 May 2018.

“All of the City’s augmentation programmes work hand in hand with Cape Town’s amazing efforts to save water and avoid Day Zero,” De Lille concludes.

Andy Walker
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