WATER NOTES FROM SOUTH AFRICA.
Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING
CAPE TOWN, June 5, 1904.
Of all the British possessions South Africa can least afford to suffer from a lack of water. The trouble in this respect has been acute at Cape Town, but it has been met, and the city’s supply has been assured. The new reservoir has been built on Table Mountain. Yet there are those who shake their heads sadly, and look knowing as they remind the public that, when the Woodhead reservoir was first completed, it was confidently predicted that Cape Town’s water supply was assured for the future. Events proved otherwise, and they claim it might be so again. The total existing sources of supply are only equal to satisfying a demand of about 3,500,000 gallons per day for 200 days, and calculations based upon the growth of the city and suburban municipalities during the last eleven years go to show that in five years’ time the daily demand will not be far short of 8.000,000 gallons. A new supply, therefore, must be had, and, as it will take well on to five years before it could be available, no time should be lost in setting about the work. The Frenchhoek scheme has been most favorably reported upon by hydraulic engineers. It involves going fifty-six miles off for the water, and will cost $9,250,000—most probably $10,000,000, and a daily supply of 40,000,000 gallons, it is estimated, will be secured. The waste of water in the city is preposterous and calls for compulsory meterage. Yet there a daily waste goes on, through the natural resources of the locality not being availed of. After every rainfall water that should be impounded runs down the slopes of Table Mountain, and all through the year there is an accumulation of water in Stinkwater ravine. It is also positively asserted by engineers that there is a vast amount of water stored in the heart of the mountain, which could be diverted into reservoirs cut and cross-cut through the mountain, and would be perfect receptacles for water storage, being protected from the sun’s rays and the natural evaporation. And even if this water were not fit for domestic purposes, might it not be used for power? There is also the Orange Kloof catchment area below the tunnel in the direction of Hout bay, where a reservoir could be constructed to furnish us with an additional daily supply of 200,000 gallons. If this were shared with Wynberg, there would still be enough for both, and a plentiful supply from such sources would do away altogether with the cistern systems.—During March last Port Elizabeth had a plentiful supply of water. The storage reservoir water averaged about three feet four and one-half inches below sill—24450,000 gallons. and the rainfall was good. The water registered by main meters near pumping station 4,263,000 gallons: average daily consumption, 568,857 gallons; total consumption, 3,982,000 gallons. The ipunip worked always except when the pump dam overflowed.—Durban provides 5,000.000 gallons a day for its 70,000 inhabitants—a per capita allowance of nearly seven and one-half gallons per day.
Chief Musham, of Chicago, plans to convert the hose comnanies at Hegewisch and Austin into engine companies, with fire engines. These companies, if money can be found for the purpose, will be known as 96 and 97.