Strandfontein desalination water gets thumbs up on rainy Cape Town day

Cape Town's Strandfontein desalination plant is up and running. Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson was given a taste of the first 3 megalitres (ML) being produced there as rainwater dripped off his nose at the beachfront site on Monday.

"If you want it to rain, build a desalination plant," quipped Neilson as a squall swirled around the delegation inspecting the plant built near the pavilion.

"Everything is now working," said Neilson after doing a "blind tasting" of bottled water, desalinated water and tap water and giving the desalinated water the thumbs up.

Neilson said operations at the plant, which went online last Tuesday, were "functioning fully".

This included the extraction of the water from the sea, treating it, getting it into the City's water system and getting the brine water back into the sea.  

"[It is] currently functioning at around 3ML a day but over the next week or so, they will be stepping that up every few days to get up to full production of 7ML a day."

Water use still above target

He thanked Capetonians for saving water amid severe Level 6B restrictions as the City edged closer to running out of tap water in a "Day Zero" drought scare which would have required residents to fetch rationed water in containers.

Water use was brought down from an unrestricted peak of 2 500 ML per day to May 14's figure of 554ML per day.

It is still above the target of 450ML per day, and alarm bells are ringing over an increase of 6.7% in consumption.

The average level of the six dams that supply Cape Town was at 21.4% on May 14.

Neilson urged Cape Town to continue to conserve water, regardless of the rain and the rainwater augmentation projects.

The V&A Waterfront desalination plant is already producing water, Neilson explained, and will get up to its planned 2ML a day soon. The other 7ML-per day plant at Monwabisi beach will also be in operation in the "next month or two".

"In the end it is only a contribution and we still wait for decent rains this year to ensure that our dams get to decent levels before we can talk about reducing our restriction levels in the City," said Neilson.

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Source: News24