South African desalination project comes under press fire

Water supplier for South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, Umgeni Water, is considering a proposal to build a seawater desalination plant on the Illovo River within the next five years to cope with growing demand in its Upper South Coast region.

Were it to go ahead, the project could be the largest seawater desalination plant in South Africa.

National press is arguing that the plant will be damaging to the environment. “In terms of the proposed desalination plant, ocean water and billions of planktonic life forms will be sucked into the plant inlet and die 24/7,” and “highly concentrated salt brine is toxic to life and this will be pumped back into the ocean via a discharge point 600 metres offshore, and this will add to the ecosystem destruction,” according to the national online news service News 24.

An environmental impact assessment public consultation last year was attended by 12 people reported News 24.