Desalination Challenging Drinking Water Outage

By the end of August, Cape Town will have a new water source as the first desalination plant in the city will go online and start producing drinkable water.


With the addition of the new plant, the city is planning to have the capacity to pump out up to 500 million litres of water a day.

A council document asks for ideas and information by July 10 from companies and organisations interested in supplying‚ installing and operating temporary reverse osmosis plants “at various locations along the city’s seashore and certain inland locations”.

Kevin Balfour‚ head of infrastructure in the city council water and sanitation department‚ said the council wanted to have several small‚ intermediate and large plants‚ with the first commissioned in August and ready to produce drinking water by the end of the month.‚

“The city will require these reverse osmosis plants to be operational for at least six months‚ but might require (them) to remain in production for … one year or possibly even two years‚ depending upon the rainfall‚” he said.

Dam storage levels were at 24,5% on 26 June 2017. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being useable, dam levels are effectively at 14,5%. Consumption is 630 million litres per day. This is 30 million litres above the current usage target of 600 million litres per day.

The City requests consumers to start moving towards the target of 500 million litres, irrespective of whether Level 4b restrictions have been formally implemented or not, by ensuring that all water users use less than 100 litres of water per person per day in total, whether at home, work or elsewhere. This would be in preparation for the proposed intensified restrictions. The City will also continue to target excessive users.

“It is incredibly important that we focus on building our reserves at the moment. The danger does exist that we will start exceeding our water usage target due to the cooler conditions and the rainfall that is being experienced at times.”

“Our dam levels remain critically lower than usual during the start of the winter. As we do not know how rainfall will pan out, we need to make sure that we save water while we have it. I know that many of us are doing everything in our power to use less water and I know it is difficult to keep on saving water, especially when the rain falls and the temperature drops, but we cannot afford to let our guard down.”

“We must continue to use less than 100 litres of water per person per day in total, whether we are at home, work, school or elsewhere. It may take a few seasons of normal rainfall for the dams to recover and we must bear in mind that we are expecting an even tougher summer in 2018,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg

Sources: Times Live | City of Cape Town
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