The City of Cape Town once again appeals to residents not to dump objects into the city’s stormwater infrastructure, after a maintenance team found a lawnmower in a manhole in Goodwood.

Following recurring stormwater overflows in Goodwood, a maintenance team from Transport for Cape Town’s Roads and Stormwater Department investigated a manhole situated on the corner of Vasco Boulevard and Frans Conradie Drive earlier this month. The officials were shocked to find a lawnmover stuck in the stormwater drain, blocking the flow and causing the drain to overflow.
‘This find underscores the importance of the City’s illegal dumping campaign that was recently launched by Mayor De Lille which highlights and educates residents about illegal dumping as well as the improper disposal of inappropriate objects – such as lawnmowers and furniture – into the City’s stormwater and sewer pipelines. We need residents to work with us to ensure the proper function of our infrastructure,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
The City’s stormwater network is pivotal to prevent the flooding of houses and structures, as well as the flooding of roads. In addition, whatever is dumped into the stormwater network ends up in canals, rivers and streams, negatively affecting the natural environment and our efforts to maintain our water quality.
The City’s stormwater network and system includes:
  • 7 500 km of underground pipes and culverts – a distance equivalent to a flight from Cape Town to Buenos Aires in Argentina
  • 1 200 km of surface canals, channels, rivers and streams – a distance nearly equivalent to the N1 between Cape Town and Johannesburg
  • Over 7 000 wetlands
  • 80 000 catch pits
  • 850 stormwater ponds
  • 11 dams
  • 32 water pumping stations
  • 62 hydrological monitoring stations
  • 100 inland and 80 coastal water quality monitoring sites

‘Approximately 40% of the City’s underground pipe and culvert network is older than 50 years and to replace the stormwater management infrastructure would cost at least R13 billion. Due to budget constraints, however, the City can only spend up to R60 million per annum on upgrades and rehabilitation. Another R85 million is available for repairs and maintenance, but up to 90% of this budget is spent on cleaning mainly due to illegal dumping, grey and black water, sewer discharges and litter landing up in our stormwater system,’ says Councillor Herron.
Catchments located near informal settlements in Hout Bay, Salt River, Lotus River, Khayelitsha, Soet River and Sir Lowry’s Pass face the threat of pollution and the City is undertaking several interventions through:
  • diverting highly polluted stormwater into the sewer system
  • diverting water from standpipes and grey water discharge into the sewer system
  • proactively cleaning and monitoring the stormwater diversion facilities
  • maintaining and inspecting the sewer reticulation system frequently
  • undertaking frequent CCTV camera inspections of both the stormwater and sewer system
  • frequently cleaning the stormwater and sewer system
‘Given our budget and manpower, the City is doing all it can to ensure that our roads do not flood during the winter months and that we manage our stormwater system in such a way that our water sources are not polluted and our water quality is not compromised. However, we cannot do this on our own. We need our residents to work with us and to refrain from littering and dumping inappropriate objects into our stormwater lines,’ says Councillor Herron.
Published by the City of Cape Town.