Cape Town - The Department of Water and Sanitation was in the process of issuing a request for information for the private sector to invest in renewable energy generation.
This was revealed by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu while responding to parliamentary questions from DA MP Cheryl Phillips.
Phillips noted that Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced that he would be seeking additional supplies of power to be installed at health facilities to augment emergency generators in health-care facilities.
Phillips wanted to know whether Mchunu would implement similar mitigating measures to ensure that water purification plants and sewage treatment plants could supply potable water to residents and businesses, and grey water to businesses that used grey water to lessen the burden on scarce water resources.
In his response, Mchunu said he and his department had advised water boards and municipalities to revise their minimum operational levels for reservoirs and increase water treatment and reservoir storage capacity.
He said the water boards and municipalities were also advised to revise water treatment schedules to maximise water treatment while electricity was available or other measures to ensure security of water.
Mchunu said they had been urged to develop alternative sources of electricity supply to meet their electricity needs, either through off-take agreements with independent power producers or embedded generators, or through direct ownership.
The department has also requested Eskom to exempt water boards and water service authorities from penalties for exceeding the notified maximum demand during periods of load shedding.
“Eskom has not yet acceded to this request,” he said.
Mchunu said his department was also in the process of issuing a request for information for the private sector to invest in renewable energy generation to supply the department with its electricity needs based on long-term electricity off-take agreements.
“This will incrementally reduce the reliance of the Department of Water and Sanitation on the electricity grid over time,” he added.