Cape Town: Boosting environmental health and economy of Zandvlei

In a boost for wetland environmental management, a specialised weed harvesting boat for Zandvlei is on track for delivery by the end of November 2023, the first of three new vessels that will be delivered by the end of 2025, The City of Cape Town said. Rietvlei is set for a weed harvester delivery by February 2024, and a second vessel for Zandvlei is scheduled for delivery in the 2024/25 financial year. photo

“This machine will help us keep the vlei cleaner and improve water quality over time. I can also confirm that a second mechanical weed harvester for Rietvei will be delivered early in the new year if all goes as planned, with a further vessel set for Zandvlei in 2024/25,” said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

“In Cape Town we are building towards a vision of cleaner, environmentally healthy waterways with the firm belief that the best days for our vleis are ahead.”

In November last year, the City of Cape Town was accredited as a Wetland City.

The accreditation acknowledges the City for ‘taking exceptional measures’ in protecting Cape Town’s wetlands and securing their benefits for Capetonians.

The City’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Eddie Andrews, said: “I’m proud to say that in Cape Town we are always looking for innovative plans to resolve challenges, and to maintain, restore, and preserve our wetlands. Working with our communities and building a network of interested and passionate residents are part of these efforts.” photo

Zandvlei in need of dredging

The City of Cape Town recently received the final assessment reports from specialist consultants on the proposed remediation interventions for Zandvlei. The City is now studying the reports, noting the recommendations and considerations related to the imminent dredging of Zandvlei. 

Specialist consultants were appointed in June last year to advise the City on the proposed dredging of Zandvlei to improve the water quality for recreational use, and practical remediation options to address pollution in the catchment.

The study included hydrodynamic modelling to evaluate the sedimentation patterns, tidal influences, projected climate change implications, and dredging scenarios.

The reports state that Zandvlei hosts inorganic and organic sediments and that fine sediments contain the greater part of contaminants and nutrients contributing to the poor water quality.

Of critical importance is to also address the sources of pollution from the catchment to ensure the ongoing health of Zandvlei’s ecosystem, and to reap the benefits of dredging in the long-term.