The City of Cape Town has implemented a short-term management strategy for the Newlands Spring following complaints of congestion and conflict as residents scramble to collect water amid the City’s worst drought in history.

The Newlands Spring has seen a large influx of residents attempting to access the site and collect water which has resulted in a great deal of congestion making it more difficult for people trying to access the spring.

Congestion and physical conflict

According to JP Smith, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; And Social Services, the situation has escalated to the point of violence with a physical conflict taking place last week which saw one person being arrested by the South African Police Service.

The surrounding neighbours and particularly the adjacent old age home are also being adversely affected according to Smith.

“The congestion and noise from cars and persons visiting the site at all hours of the day and night is causing many complaints from the surrounding community and often Kildare Road and Springs Way, which are simply not wide enough to handle the volume of vehicles trying to access the springs, are blocked,” he explained.

Smith recently conducted a site visit with officials from the Traffic Engineering Services and the Traffic Department to ascertain how the site can be better managed.

Short term interventions

As part of the interventions Springs Way will be managed 24 hours a day by City enforcement departments, traffic services will be onsite daily to manage congestion and parking and the city will only be accessible to vehicles between 07:00 and 22:00.

In addition each person will be requested to only fill containers of up to 25 litres at a time to ensure that no one person holds up the queue.

“The above is just a short-term arrangement to try and manage the increasing tension and congestion at the site. It is clear that the short dead-end street, the narrow access via Kildare Road and lack of parking are not suitable to support the large number of vehicles trying to access the spring.

Re-routing the spring

“Therefore, in the next month we will be re-routing the spring water from this spring to the Newlands swimming pool site 700 meters down the road, which is located on Main Road and which has much better parking and space available,” concludes Smith.


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