Cape Town - The City has established an Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) to look into the process of permanent desalination as part of its proposed actions outlined in its water strategy to help build Cape Town’s future water supply.
Desalination is the process of removing salt and minerals from seawater to produce clean, usable and drinkable water.
This is not the first time that permanent desalination has been discussed. In October 2020 the City announced plans to build a permanent desalination plant, costing R1.8 billion.
At the time the City said the temporary desalination plants at Strandfontein and Monwabisi, which were constructed as emergency water supplies at the height of the drought crisis, had both been decommissioned by the contractor in terms of contractual requirements.
The year before that, in September 2019, it was reported that the City was looking to build another desalination plant with a capacity of 50 million litres per day in a bid to become water-resilient by 2026.
Last week Mayco member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien said the expert panel, established in conjunction with the Water Research Commission (WRC), would provide expert advice on the technical, scientific, socio-economic and regulatory aspects of desalination.
“It is vital to become less dependent on rain-fed dams so we are also investing in supply from various water sources such as groundwater, permanent desalination and reuse.”
The established IAP for desalination was launched by the WRC and the City on March 1 and will be in place until June 30 next year.
Badroodien said when compared with other alternatives available, desalination is expensive, but if sustainably implemented, it could be instrumental in increasing the City’s resilience against future water crises.
“The City will introduce 300 MLD (megalitres per day) of new water by 2030 from diverse sources, groundwater, reuse and desalination.”
Bringing the City’s New Water Programme online will see an investment of about R5 billion over the next eight years, he said.
Meanwhile, the provincial government department has been running water awareness campaigns in Kannaland, Matzikama and Beaufort West to amplify its call for all residents to save water.
MEC Anton Bredell said these face-to-face campaigns were important as they allowed the government to speak to residents where they live, and in a more personal manner.