Desalination on track

2018-02-06 06:00

The first two million litres of desalinated water will be added to the City’s water supply by March, officials say.

This was revealed at the recent site visit to the Strandfontein Desalination Plant, which is said to be running on schedule to produce its seven million litres of water per day come May.

The desalination plant forms part of the City of Cape Town’s Emergency Water Augmentation Scheme and must deliver water that meets South African National Standards (SANS) ­requirements.

These are the standards set nationally for drinking water quality.

Wynand Wessels, project manager for Water Solutions – Proxa Joint Venture, says the entrance to the beach will only remain closed for a few days to allow for the installation of the water pump.

“This is a temporary installation with a two-year supply contract with the City. This will supply directly to the City’s water supply [immediately when online]. Following the two years, the plant will be removed as the property of Water Solutuions – Proxa Joint Venture,” says Wessels.

Three temporary plants have been identified, says Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg.

These sites are Strandfontein, Waterfront and Monwabisi, with the Cape Town Harbour Barge being identified as a possible long-term, more permanent plant.

At present, it takes around 15 million litres of seawater to produce seven million litres of drinking water.

The water is pumped from around one kilometre out to sea and run through a filtration system that separates the brine solution, which is then pumped back out to sea.

Wessels explains that the highly concentrated salt brine is easily rehabilitated into the ocean.

At present the cost is around R30 to R40 per kilolitre of desalinated water.

Limberg says desalination is only one aspect of the long-term plan.

The water mix will consist of rainwater, desalinated water and tapping from aquifers.

“We plan to extract around 80 million litres from the Cape Flats Aquifer. The City has a water use licence to extract at least 83 million litres and this will all form part of the water mix,” she says.

The desalination plants will have online monitoring equipment installed to check the efficacy of the desalination process and adherence to the SANS standards.

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