Monday, 18 December 2017

Recycled water keeps CPUT lawns green

Water Crisis Water Crisis

In the midst of an extended drought, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology has found a way of utilising an innovative resource to keep its grounds and gardens green. This initiative is driven by the university’s personnel who mainly uses recycled water to achieve the goal of saving water and maintaining the campuses.

The Bellville Campus utilises huge pumps which are controlled by computer and irrigation stations to water the entire campus and its sport fields.

Douglas Curran, Chief Horticulturist at CPUT, says the Bellville Campus gets treated effluent water from the Bellville Sewage Works which gets stored in a retention dam on the campus.

What is important to note is that, “while the water meets safety standards it is not recommended for drinking, cooking and washing,” says Curran.

It has been nearly 30 years since the treated effluent water is used to irrigate the sport fields and their drainage system collects the water and sends it to the campus’ lake which pumps it back to the dam," he says, and mentioned that the irrigation system uses the same water five times.

Old areas are not irrigated at all and the Piazza on the Cape Town Campus has a pumping system connected to underground spring water which is used to keep the grass there merely alive.

Lawns and gardens on the Wellington Campus are maintained using boreholes.

While CPUT has an exemption certificate from the City of Cape Town which allows it to use fresh water to irrigate the majority of the Cape Town Campus up to three-times-a-week, the university has managed to only water newly-planted areas only once-a-week.

Since January 2018 the City of Cape Town has implemented Level 6b water restrictions that prohibit residents from using no more than 50 litres of drinking water per person per day. Capetonians are also prohibited from irrigating, hosing down paved surfaces, washing of vehicles or filling their swimming pools.
The restrictions further stipulate that drinking water should be used only indoors for essential washing, cooking and drinking purposes.

If the drought persists and residents use more than 50 litres of water per person per day, the City has announced, Day Zero will come into effect on 12 April 2018.

Written by Kwanele Butana


Provides coverage for the Business and Management Sciences and Education Faculties, Student Affairs Department and Cape Town and Mowbray Campuses.