29 November 2010

The low point before the high

There is an exciting historical reconnection which is going to take place soon. Spring water originating from the Stadtsfontein spring, at the top of Oranjezicht, will be piped to Green Point and fill the lakes.

This spring was the reason why the Khoikhoi lived here at the Cape, and why a settlement started here during the 17th C. "Water from Platteklip and the 13 artesian springs in the city bowl provided the water for Cape Town’s population and trading ships - until it was scrapped from the asset resource register in the late 1990s." To find out more about the historical significance of this water, visit Reclaim Camissa.

It is astonishing to think that for a decade 2.4 million liters / day of spring water ran straight into the sea, but the point is that is about to change. The pipeline is almost complete: I've been told the water will be connected this week. There is enough water to irrigate the entire Green Point common - including the Stadium, golf course, all the sportsfields and the Urban park!

Landscape Plan by OVP Associates

Camissa means 'place of sweet waters' and is the ancient Khoi name for Cape Town. Clearly the historical significance of this reconnection with the spring is enormous. However this abundant source of water also meant that the designers (OVP) could 'afford' to make water a key design feature in the Park. It originates and becomes visible in a 'source' water feature, and runs along open channels and spillways into a series of lakes. The lakes serve as a reservoir for the irrigation and create a natural and friendly boundary between the golf course and the Park.

The past few weeks the water level has been dropping daily and it's terribly low: the planted reed ledges and sand bags are exposed, looking rather sad. The spillways are dry. Even the fish sculpture has lost its charm with the substructure exposed...

So perhaps now you can understand why the City wanted to wait with the opening of the Park? I hope so!

Carex clavata growing on the lake edge

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