Done and dusted – essential Cape Flats bulk water network maintenance operation completed

The City of Cape Town’s mammoth essential maintenance operation on the Cape Flats bulk water supply network has been completed. Water supply to affected areas is slowly being restored. The City will continue to monitor the water pressure in these areas. Water quality remained a priority for the City during this time- see this video about the tankers:

After a few months of planning and non-stop efforts, the City’s Water and Sanitation with the support of various City departments, installed three new valves- 1800mm, 1500mm and 1200mm each in diameter- and repaired leaks on the Cape Flat bulk water pipeline.

A 22km stretch of the bulk water pipeline had to be isolated and emptied so the team could safely replace the three valves. Two valves are located near Manenberg (along Govan Mbeki Drive) and one valve is opposite Ottery Cemetery. A leak on the pipeline near Knole Park was also repaired.

Team work

‘The purpose of this maintenance is to ensure that our residents continue to enjoy a safe, reliable water supply. Today we can proudly say the collaborative team work from the City, residents, Western Cape Government’s Department of Health and Disaster Management Department has made this happen. We could not have done this on our own. It’s the first time we have undertaken an operation of this scale and we have learnt a lot. Communication leading up to and during this operation with our residents was very important. We got off to a bumpy start on Friday when more areas than anticipated were initially experiencing a disruption to their water supply. As soon as this was detected, teams swung into action and rerouted water to these unplanned affected areas.

‘Over the past few days, it has been all hands on deck to oversee the successful completion of the project, and to mitigate the impacts on affected residents. The City proactively activated its Disaster Coordinating Team in Goodwood to monitor and respond to all aspects related to this dynamic operation.
‘Various teams have been involved, from the planners and logistical support to those in trenches doing the maintenance, while others were delivering water via tankers, escorting tankers and accompanying teams on site to ensure their safety while work was being done throughout the nights. There are lots of logistics involved in such an operation, thank you to all our City teams for your commitment and hard work over this period.

‘Thank you also to all affected residents for their patience and understanding during this very challenging time so we can continue to ensure a reliable water supply to our communities. We regret any inconvenience caused during this time and made every effort to minimise the inconvenience as much as possible. Thank you to the ward councillors who were instrumental in helping us keep tabs on the ground impact on residents’ supply, where tankers were needed and sharing communication from the City to their residents,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.


The City would like to thank Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (PenBev), Gift of the Givers and Lucinda Evans from the Philisa Abafazi Bethu (PAB) Centre in Retreat for their initiatives to help this weekend. PenBev donated 2000 cases of bottled water, which Gift of the Givers distributed to various old age homes, hospitals, nursing homes and shelters for woman and homeless people, and Ms Evans’s organisation distributed to those in need in surrounding communities.

Also PenBev’s provided three of their tankers, each with a 33 000 litre capacity and drivers, to assist with the refilling of City water tankers over the three-day operation up to 21:00 at night. This has played a pivotal role in speeding up our water deliveries to residents. Their large-capacity tankers were used to refill our tankers so they did not have to go to the depots to refill. Turnaround times were much shorter.

The City also thanks the Swartland Municipality which also kindly provided one of their 11 000 litre tankers with drivers which formed part of the fleet of tankers providing water to those areas which had no water this period. We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to these organisations which have made such valuable contributions.
Water supply

‘It will take some time for the pipes to be filled with water and the pressure to return to normal. This is because the bulk pipes are massive in size and have to connect with smaller reticulation pipes that bring water to our homes. When the flow of water changes over in the network, the pressure needs to be balanced carefully and stabilised slowly to prevent pipes from bursting.

‘During this time, residents are asked to please be patient while the supply is restored. We are aware of some unexpected localised pipe bursts which are being attended to.

‘Residents are assured that water supply to affected areas is being monitored closely,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

When normal water supply starts again

Water is slowly and systematically filling the bulk supply pipes to prevent pipe bursts. The supply to the reticulation network will then be slowly released.
For a short period the water may be discoloured or look milky. This is because of trapped air in the pipes. If left to stand in a glass, the appearance will become clear, like normal.
You can open an outside tap to expel any trapped air in the plumbing on your property. This water can be stored in a container for later use, so it’s not wasted.
Water supply disruptions

Residents should please send a WhatsApp to our Water Contact Centre on 060 018 1505 if you don’t have water in your area. Or report it through one of the other reporting channels: SMS 31373, call 0860 103 089, email or online at


There are more photographs in the dropbox link.

Myezo Poyo, the City’s project manager for the Cape Flats Bulk water pipeline project, inspecting the inside of the pipe.
The Water and Sanitation team connecting the new valve to the existing large pipe.
City’s Water and Sanitation team on site with one of the new valves before it was installed.
Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages tanker refilling the City’s tanker at Schaapkraal.

(Image 0282) The Swartland municipality staff are, from left: Pietie Boois, Brian Rhodes and Isak Snyders.
(Image WA 0045) Donations of bottled water from Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (PenBev) being distributed by the Gift of the Givers team.
(Image relief water 1) From left, is Mahina Schachter (social work intern at PAB), members of the Community Protection Team, Grant Kay and Rudy Slaab, and Giovanni Samuels from PAB with donations of water.

Source: City Of Cape Town