#DayZero: Plans for extra desalination plants at tender stage - City

2018-01-30 21:40
Cape Town's deputy mayor Ian Nielson. (Paul Herman, News24)

Cape Town's deputy mayor Ian Nielson. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - Cape Town's deputy mayor Ian Nielson says plans to build additional desalination plants in the city are currently at tender stage and could be announced in the next few weeks.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane held a press conference on Tuesday, along with members of the City of Cape Town's drought crisis team.

Residents were told on Tuesday that their response to the imminent arrival of Day Zero has pushed the date back four days, from April 12 to April 16.

#DayZero: Expect a planned drop in water pressure soon - Maimane

Neilson, who recently replaced mayor Patricia de Lille as head of the city's response to the crisis, said plans were afoot to add more plants to the three already commissioned.

"In addition to those three, there are a couple of other ones at tender stage," Nielson said at the party's Cape Town offices.

"I don't want to compromise the processes on that by making any statement; in fact, I'm not permitted to be part of the decisions on that [as a mayoral committee member].

"But we are hopeful that, in the next few weeks, we will be able to announce some additional desalination plants as well."

Three plants still under construction

Nielson said the three planned desalination plants - in Strandfontein, Monwabisi and the V&A Waterfront - were on track to being functional by May.

"They are all under construction at the moment, so you may not see much on site right now," he said.

"These are temporary desalination plants that are containerised. Most of it is being constructed in a factory at the moment and being stored in containers."

"On site, they will build a basic foundation and then we will bring them from the factory and install there."

Construction pipes were ready to be removed from the Strandfontein site, while the Monwabisi plant has been assembled and is ready to be moved from Gordon's Bay harbour, pending good weather.

'We will listen to offer from Mokonyane'

Neilson said the City was still open to an offer to provide another desalination plant from the national department of water, through a KZN subsidiary, Umgeni Water.

The offer though, needs to have more information and be more reasonable than the one De Lille rejected in December.

Water Minister Nomvula Mokonyane's offer to build a 10ML (megalitre) plant at the V&A Waterfront - after the City had already commissioned its own desalination plant at the same site - was scant on details and overpriced.

The City does not own the land and the Waterfront itself has plans to build its own plant.

PICS: Cape Town residents scramble to buy bottled water at shops

"So, the first question is, is the V&A Waterfront the right place?" he asked.

"Secondly, in other communication, the minister is talking about R400m for the desalination plant. We know a 10ML desalination plant only costs R100m, so we are a little bit confused as to why it would cost so much.

"I could speculate, but let's find out the facts."

Neilson therefore said he believed De Lille's response to rather focus on ground water was the correct one, but they remain interested in the offer.

"We've instructed our officials to talk with the national department to engage on this.

"If the department is willing to spend R400m, we have some better proposals as to how that amount of money can be spent."

Read more on:    nomvula mokonyane  |  mmusi maimane  |  cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis

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