The Cape Town Cycle Tour will go ahead, despite the severe water crisis in the Western Cape, race director David Bellairs confirmed in a press conference today.
Bellairs last week outlined the plans put in place to address water shortages in the province. Today he announced at a press conference that the 40th edition of the race would proceed.
He said several unprecedented steps would be taken to mitigate the impact of the March 11 race on the city’s water supply.
“The CT Cycle Tour Trust agreed that, in addition to taking the Tour off the municipal grid, it will offset the water footprint of the estimated 15 000 participants from beyond the Western Cape.
“The Trust is committed to taking some of the money that would have gone to charitable distribution, to purchase an amount of 2-million litres of spring water sourced from only licenced and fully tested suppliers.
“We are also in the process of rolling out a comprehensive communications plan aimed at both locals and out-of-town participants.”
This, said Bellairs, would make the seriousness of the drought situation in Cape Town clear to all.
“It will also provide information on how we expect riders to behave. We will also ensure our hospitality partners take this even further.
“It is vitally important that all visiting participants understand the dire situation that exists in the Cape,” he added.
Bellairs admitted that the effects of the water crisis would be felt for a number of years, even if there were decent rains this winter.
“The water shortage is beyond a crisis; it is a disaster and should be declared as such,” he said.
“Even if we manage to avoid Day Zero, the water shortage is going to have – and is already having – a significant impact on the economy.”
He said all suppliers related to the Cycle Tour would sign service level agreements specifying their water usage as well as the source of the water.
He outlined several steps to be taken to reduce water consumption.
The Cycle Tour will have 360 toilets, all utilising grey water. Waterless soap solutions will also be provided instead of washbasins.
All water ballasts previously used for holding down structures will be converted to cement blocks.
All refreshment station water will be privately supplied and not from the city’s grid.
“We are also providing clearly marked grey water systems whereby excess water will be put into grey water bins,” Bellairs said. “This water will then be taken to a water treatment plant after the tour.
“We will be educating spectators en route to also ensure there is no spraying down of cyclists or portable pools in use on the day,” he added.
The Cycle Tour will this year start at the Grand Parade precinct for the first time.