Cape considers desalination as rationing looms

Cape Town, South Africa is considering investment in desalination and water reuse as part of its intensified focus on measures to conserve water amid fears that rationing is becoming more likely.

The city has identified a number of potential water supply schemes as possible future sources. They include surface water, groundwater, seawater desalination and waste water re-use schemes, . The range of options being considered by the city authorities included pressure management schemes, pipe replacement programmes and leak detection, education programmes on saving water as well as desalination.

Head of the University of Cape Town’s department of civil engineering and director of the Urban Water Management research unit, Neil Armitage, warned that desalination of treated sewage or secondary sources of water would be cheaper than seawater desalination.
Earlier this month Durban started water rationing following a debilitating drought.

The City of Cape Town said although the region had experienced some rain since the beginning of winter, the amount of rainfall and runoff had not significantly increased the levels of the dams. The city said that dam levels would be assessed at the end of the winter rainfall season next month, and a decision would then be taken on how the system of dams would be operated over the next year, including whether water restrictions would be required.