Cape Town drills for water

Drought-hit Cape Town in race against time to source potable water.

Cape Town is drilling in an attempt to source new underground water resources in the Cape Flats, an expansive area to the southeast of the city's central business district.

The drilling is being carried out in parallel with the construction of coastal desalination plants as the Western Cape battles the worst drought in a century.

A plan to increase the water supply to the Voëlvlei Dam, originally due to become operational in 2024, is being fast-tracked to 2019 as Cape Town seeks to avoid a "Day Zero" scenario, in which residents could be left completely without water.

The Voëlvlei project involves pumping water from the Berg river into the dam which was established in 1971 near Gouda, about 100 km north of Cape Town.

The ongoing water crisis has prompted the city to consider a water tax as well as imposing restrictions on residents and tourists. However the region's crisis was offset slightly by the recent discovery of a freshwater resource in Beaufort West, about 460 km north-east of Cape Town.