No desalination plant for Hout Bay yet

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.

The proposed desalination plant for Hout Bay does not form part of the first phase of such projects for Cape Town, says mayor Patricia de Lille.

In August, the mayor announced several developments in the City’s water resilience plan in the wake of the crippling drought, saying the City had started procuring and commissioning various augmentation schemes to find up to 500 million litres of new water a day.

The technologies include groundwater extraction, desalination from land-based containers, desalination from barges, marine-based desalination and water reuse.

At the time, the Sentinel reported that the proposed Hout Bay desalination plant would be built on an open gravel area near the boat yards on Harbour Road. A raw-water abstraction station would be built near the Fish on the Rocks restaurant, while the conceptual layout also showed that the brine discharge pipeline would run to the existing marine outfall for brine discharge further down from West Fort (“Plant plan for Hout Bay,” Sentinel, September 1).

However, in an update to the Sentinel this week, Ms De Lille said that while preparation work for the Hout Bay project continued, it was not part of the first phase of projects.

“There are seven projects already under way in the first phase,” she said.

“These are Monwabisi, Strandfontein, the V&A Waterfront, and Cape Town Harbour desalination plants; the Atlantis and Cape Flats Aquifer projects; and the Zandvliet water recycling project that will be producing an additional 144 million litres per day between February and July 2018,” she said.

“The yield from these projects will rise incrementally in the months thereafter. In addition, we have 12 projects in the advanced stage of planning that are ready to proceed if required.”

She said the City was mindful of the potential financial impact on water users, and the City had worked hard to see what existing budget it had available by making “tough choices” and reprioritising spending to drought initiatives.

“For the first phase, seven projects are being developed with the City savings and reprioritisation of funds. The City will provide updates in this regard.”

This week, the City announced dam storage levels had further declined to 36.2%, of which only 26.2% is usable.

Collective water usage by the residents of Cape Town currently stands at 602 million litres per day. This is 102 million litres above the target usage of 500 million litres per day required to see the city through the drought.