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Plans in place amid SA’s shortage of chlorine gas used to purify drinking water, says City of Cape Town

The City assured residents that Cape Town currently has chlorine supply at all water treatment plants, is taking delivery of further stock next week, and tap water is safe to drink. Picture: Leon Muller/African news Agency (ANA) Archives

The City assured residents that Cape Town currently has chlorine supply at all water treatment plants, is taking delivery of further stock next week, and tap water is safe to drink. Picture: Leon Muller/African news Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jan 20, 2022

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Cape Town – Cape Town has contingency plans in place to handle the national liquid gas chlorine shortage, which is used by water boards and large municipalities to treat water to drinking standards.

The City of Cape Town announced on Thursday that the country is currently experiencing a chlorine supply shortage, specifically of the liquid gas chlorine, which has come about due to an incident at the supply facility in Kempton Park.

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The City assured residents that Cape Town currently has chlorine supply at all water treatment plants, is taking delivery of further stock next week, and tap water is safe to drink.

Mayco member for water and sanitation, Dr Zahid Badroodien said: “Cape Town is planning for an extended period of supply constraints and is executing contingency plans to ensure chlorine is available to meet the national SANS241 drinking water quality standards at all times.

“South Africa’s main manufacturer of chlorine gas for water purification purposes, based in Gauteng, experienced severe supply disruptions in the past week.

“The factory is now operating again, but it will take time to build up stock reserves as there is pent up demand from water boards and municipalities.

“The City is already procuring chlorine gas substitutes locally and actively exploring all possible alternatives including international procurement options to mitigate the risk of protracted national supply constraints,” said Badroodien.

He said the City aimed to ensure it did not reach a point where the national shortage of chlorine impacted on the quality of drinking and tap water.

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“It must be made clear that the city does not have a water shortage issue.

“The issue relates to national supply constraints of chlorine for water purification purposes.

“While there is ample water in our dams, we need to ensure treated drinking water can be supplied sustainably throughout the period of national chlorine supply constraints,” Badroodien said.

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Residents are urged to help by reducing non-essential water usage, and that ideally, Cape Town’s overall water usage should drop to about 800Ml/day according to current estimates.

The City is also looking at reducing pressure where possible to assist with staying within the 800Ml/day range, if required.

“Over the past few weekends water usage has reached pre-drought levels (1000Ml per day) on several occasions.

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“This is likely attributed to activities linked to hot weather.

“In particular, residents should aim to be water-wise in their daily routines.

“The City will ensure ongoing updates to the public until the chlorine supply challenge has been resolved,” Badroodien said.

“Let’s work together to reduce our usage during this time.”

Tips for reducing water can be found at www.capetown.gov.za/savewater

Cape Argus

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