Zeekoevlei grounds opened but water body remains 'heavily polluted'
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Cape Town - The terrestrial part of the Zeekoevlei has been opened for activities such as bird watching, jogging, walking and cycling.
The water body however remains closed for recreational activities as the latest water quality results showed high e-coli levels in different points of the vlei.
Latest e-coli figures recorded in the Zeekoevlei on August 16 showed 74 000 cfu (colony forming unit per 100ml) in front of Cape Peninsula Aquatic Club, 34 000 cfu at Home Bay in front of Zeekoevlei Yacht Club, 49 000 cfu opposite inlet of Big Lotus River and 18 000 at vlei weir.
Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei vice-chairperson Tom Schwerdtfeger said they were happy that the Picnic Area and Birding Areas were reopened to the public again. He said this area was well utilised and a great asset to the surrounding community.
However, Schwerdtfeger said this move was unfortunately not an indication that the overall situation in Zeekoevlei has improved.
“The water body remains heavily polluted, and access to the water is still prohibited. User groups such as the yacht club and rowing clubs are still experiencing financial challenges due to being forced to remain closed.
“Zeekoevlei is facing huge challenges from continued sewage spills and the ingress of litter into the catchment area. Unfortunately, the City was unable to repair the broken litter traps during the drawdown period when the water levels were low due to administrative restraints.
“As a result, an unprecedented amount of litter will have to be removed once the water quality improves and we are able to get our teams in to attend to this problem,” he said.
Schwerdtfeger said the challenges were overwhelming at the moment and it had also become challenging to remain positive about keeping on top of all the issues.
“Fortunately, we have a strong group and the full support of the community behind us,” he said.
False Bay Nature Reserve manager Bongani Zungu said City officials would conduct regular water quality sampling over the coming weeks and would reopen the water body once water quality results return to acceptable levels.
“This shall be communicated through the False Bay Protected Area Advisory Committee and other affected groups. Despite this closure there are still a number of water bodies within the City that remain open for recreational use and we encourage groups and residents to use these spaces,” he said.
Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said although water quality trends were coming down steadily in Zeekoevlei, sampling points results were still above the accepted limits.
“An action plan matrix for the Zeekoe catchment has to be finalised. The action plan has to be transformed into a full pollution abatement strategy and action plan,” she said.