South Africa declares drought a national disaster, weighs desal options

South Africa has declared a national disaster owing to the severe drought that is threatening to cease water supplies in City of Cape Town.

The declaration means that management of the water crisis can be taken over by the national government. Minister of water Nomvula Mokonyane has tasked Umgeni Water, supplier of bulk potable water in KwaZulu-Natal province on South Africa’s east coast, potentially to support the City of Cape Town in procuring a desalination plant for V&A Waterfront.

ZwaZulu-Natal is home to Richard’s Bay Desalination Plant, a 10,000 m3/d facility that began producing water in 2016.

Central government funds of ZAR 70 million ($5.9 million) have been released so far to support the drought-hit provinces of Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

QFS and Osmoflo to supply emergency desalination unit for V&A Waterfront

The project involves supply, installation, and commissioning of a fully containerised 2,000 m3/d seawater reverse osmosis and multimedia filtration facility. The plant will be delivered as a rental contract for a minimum of 24 months, and is expected to complete within a schedule of eight weeks, to be operation by March 2018. The facility will comprise seven 40-foot containerised plants, to be shipped from Osmoflo’s storage facility in Dubai.

The backstory:

Blame game begins ahead of Cape Town’s ‘day zero’ (January 2018)

Cape Town temporary solutions due online in two to three months (October 2017)

Cape Town kicks off three stages of tendering in water crisis response (August 2017)

Cape Town calls for information on desalination solutions amid drought (June 2017)

Western Cape province declared a disaster zone (May 2017)