Water containment in drought-stricken Cape Town

The Western Cape province is experiencing the worst drought in decades and even if we would receive good rainfall this winter, we’ll still experience the effects for years to come – this is why proper water containment is crucial.

A recent substantial once-off donation by the fruit growers of the Groenland Water Users Association (GWUA) has allowed the City of Cape Town to push out Day Zero by about 20 days. These farmers, located in the Elgin and Grabouw areas, have built private dams over the years and after reasonable winter rainfall, were able to make 10 billion litres of water available to the City. The farmers have thrown the City a lifeline which would not have been possible if they did not have a water containment solution in place.

The City plans to make use of groundwater, desalination, and recycling to meet the requirements of residents. Corporate companies are also looking at what they can do to meet demands. Waterproof Lab, who specializes in water containment solutions, in conjunction with Waterbrothers, recently completed a massive project in the port of Cape Town where an old reservoir was lined with EPDM so that it can be used as part of a desalination plant.


While not all of us are owners of big corporate organizations, we can all make use of water containment solutions in one form or another. Waterproof Lab specializes in flat roofs, box gutters and roof gardens as well as reservoirs, eco pools and dams. We only work with the EPDM product. Our waterproof system is unique and unlike any other product currently on the market and gives professionals like architects and engineers the peace of mind that they have the best waterproofing system in the world.

Waterproof Lab’s EPDM membrane comes with a 20-year warranty. The EPDM rolls come in workable sizes like 3 x 15 m, 6 x 15 m, and up to 15 m x 60 m, making it possible to line any size surface with almost no seams.

Benefits of using EPDM for water containment include:

  • EPDM is extremely durable – the rubber membrane will not tear, crack or split.
  • EPDM is flexible and can accommodate cracks and movement – the membrane is highly elastic and can stretch up to 400% without damaging the membrane.
  • EPDM is unaffected by extreme temperature variations – the membrane can withstand temperatures varying from -40 to 110 degrees Celsius.
  • EPDM offers long life expectancy – 50-year minimum proven life expectancy, as well as a 20-year guarantee for roofing and waterproofing works.
  • EPDM offers efficient installation – rubber membranes are made to measure in the workshop under ideal working conditions and quality control is applied consistently, ensuring minimal onsite joining of the EPDM breather membrane.
  • EPDM is very resistant to punctures – membranes are resistant to root penetration.
  • EPDM is environmentally friendly – membranes are completely recyclable and less energy is used in the manufacturing process compared to bitumen products.

But what does the future hold for Capetonians, and what does the Cape Town mayor mean we she says: “Climate change means there is no more normal – we have seen that the rains will not come as it used to with our lowest rainfall on record in 100 years over the past two winters”?

According to researchers at the Climate System Analysis Group of the University of Cape Town, every projection is different. There are different patterns of succession of wet and dry years. In some projections, there are many years of drought. In some, there are few. The important thing is that no single projection is likely to represent the actual future. But all together they represent what the future is likely to be like.

Not a permanent drought. Dry years and wet years. And “moderate” years in between. But the chance of dry years increases as we go towards the end of the century. And the chance of wet years decreases as we go towards the end of the century. That’s our new normal, at least on the rainfall side.

At Waterproof Lab we are preparing for anything that the future might bring; will you be doing the same?

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