The City of Cape Town has begun with the maintenance dredging operation of the sand bar at the mouth of the Zandvlei Estuary, a 300-hectare nature reserve and recreational area of exceptional biodiversity.
The build-up of sand in the estuary has occurred over the past 40 years. Although the accumulation of sand has at times been interrupted by past dredging operations, it has been building up especially over the past decade.
The extra sediment has reduced flow and depth to the point where it restricts movement of fish into and out of the estuary and may increase the risk of flooding upstream. It also reduces the flushing of excess nutrients out of the estuarine system.
The accumulation of sand is the direct result of the rubble weir at the mouth of the estuary which, amongst others, had to be constructed to protect the sewer line.
Sediment taken during the dredging will be stored on both banks while drying and will then be removed for use in projects elsewhere as needed. A rehabilitation plan is also in place for banks that are damaged during operation of the dredging equipment, and they will be restored to a better condition than at the start of the project.