KZN's water crisis: Desalination plans

2014-04-01 09:51

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Cape Town – Umgeni Water plans to create two desalination plants in Durban in order to address KwaZulu Natal’s scarce water resources, which is a growing concern for South Africa.

According to IOL one of these plants will be located in Tongaat and the other will be close to Illovu.

While still in the planning stages if both plants were to be built the amount of water generated would be enough to supply a quarter of Durban’s demand.

At this stage the plants still have to be vetted. Both plants have to be check to see if they are financially viable.

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) has to be done as well.

Eskom has to further address whether it has enough energy to support the plant.

The desalination process will be conducted through reverse osmosis.

This new proposal has been seen as an alternative to a controversial proposal to purify sewage water in order to manage the city’s need, known as the “toilet to tap” plan.

The sewage plan is according to IOL cheaper than the desalination proposal and will address the rising level of sewage in eThekwini’s rivers.

Public participation and the concerns they have around the two projects will play heavily into whether the programmes will see the light of day.

In fact Umgeni Water and the CSIR have invited the public to convey their concerns, as part of its EIA mandate.

According to the Umgeni Water seawater from the ocean near Tongaat and Illovu will be sucked in through pipes and sent to the plants where it will be processed though a myriad of filters in order to remove minerals and slat.

The salt liquid that is removed from the water will be placed back into the Ocean.

The salt content of this brine liquid will be quite high so Umgeni Water has suggested that this liquid will be diluted by 3% in order to maintain the salinity levels.

The desalination plants will generate 150 million litres of drinkable water each day.

The main issue is electricity consumption. It is estimated that the plants will require 25MW each. The scale of electricity consumption remains unclear.

Water and waste chief Neil Macleod warns South Africans that the city is running out of drinkable water even though the municipality is building a dam in Mooi River, the Spring Grove dam.

He suggested that the water from the Spring Grove dam may be depleted within two years due to high consumption.
Read more on:    eskom  |  durban  |  environment  |  water
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