South Africa’s Cape ponders desalination as water crisis grips

The provincial government of South Africa’s Western Cape is looking to water reclamation and seawater desalination as it considers its options for securing water amid a serious crisis.

Western Cape minister for environmental affairs, Anton Bredell has said the province was planning to build desalination plants in Cape Town and in the West Coast district municipality. Bredell said desalination was costly but essential for water security. But Bredell’s counterpart for economic opportunities Alan Winde said the province should first look to conserve water and a desalination plant was not an option.

South Africa’national government recently proposed desalination in its water resource strategy. It estimated that, by 2030, desalination plants could provide up to 10% of the country’s urban water supply.

Opponents to desalination have warned that it would tax the country’s stretched power production capacity.

Nevertheless, Cape Chamber of Commerce president, Janine Myburgh, has asserted that desalination would be necessary in future: “We should be using the waste heat from the Koeberg nuclear power station for desalination. This is normal practice in the Middle East, where most desalination takes place and it is amazing that we are not doing it here,” she said.


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