Port Elizabeth of Yore: Artesian Water in Sea off Coega

In David Raymer’s book, Streams of Life covering the water supply to the Port Elizabeth / Uitenhage area, he states that “A number of tales have arisen about the artesian water coming out at the sea near the Coega River mouth.” Is this merely a myth or is it a fact?

After recently reading CJ Skead’s description of hot water artesian springs on Amanzi farm in the Sunday’s valley, I was reminded of David’s claim in his book.

Main picture: Operation of an artesian spring

In support of this phenomenon, David states that “sailing ships used to collect fresh water “out of the sea”; cattle were seen to drink water on the beach; and fishermen knew the exact location of the freshwater.”  These stories have never been proved but it is a fact that the artesian water does enter the sea. A previous geological report concluded that water entered the ocean some 60 km off-coast at the continental shelf. An investigation carried out in the early 1990’s by the municipality did not indicate any presence of freshwater.

It is alleged that subsequent investigations did find artesian water in the sea but I cannot conclusively track down a source to confirm the assertion.

Streams of Life: The Water Supply of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage by David Raymer (October 2008, Express Litho Services, Port Elizabeth)

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