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Desalination for Cape Town – Numbers and Facts – South Africa

3. What about in South Africa?
In South Africa desalination is used quite widely by mines to clean up polluted mine water and acid mine drainage. Small to medium-scale desalination has also been used in coastal towns during times of drought. Six municipalities are currently using small-scale reverse osmosis plants to desalinate water for bulk water supply.

Mossel Bay has a medium size desalination plant capable of producing 15 million litres of potable water per day but the plant is currently on standby as the dams in the area are full. Standby mode requires continuous maintenance to keep the plant functional which costs the municipality money whilst not producing any water.
The Knysna municipality has a desalination plant capable of producing 2 million litres per day which is currently shut down for maintenance and repairs. During normal operation, the plant is used at the discretion of the municipality. Currently there is sufficient water in Knysna so use of the plant is minimised due to the high operational costs.
Plettenberg (Bitou municipality) has an operational desalination plant producing 2 million litres per day.
There are two desalination plants in the Ndlambe municipality, namely the Bushman’s River Mouth and Cannon Rocks plants, that produce 1.8 and 0.75 million litres per day respectively. Both plants are currently producing at full capacity.
The Cederberg municipality has a plant in Lamberts Bay with a capacity of 1.7 million litres per day (upgradable to 5 million litres per day); however, this plant is not operational yet as it is still newly developed.
Richard’s Bay has a desalination plant that was installed during the 2016/17 drought to provide the town with 10 million litres per day. It has been operating at an average rate of 6 million litres per day. The plant has had several problems, particularly cable theft, which has interrupted supply, and excessive pressure, which resulted in pipe bursts in the areas receiving water.
4. What desalination is in the pipeline for Cape Town?
Four of the seven augmentation projects that will bring new water online for Cape Town are desalination plants. They are based at the Waterfront, Cape Town harbour, Monwabisi and Strandfontein (the latter two on the False Bay coast). These are relatively small-scale operations. The City has been criticised for initially trying to bring on smaller and quicker plants to provide water during a Day Zero scenario as these are more expensive. At one stage we were going to bring in desalination barges. Barges have only worked successfully in more sheltered sea areas in the Red Sea and the Gulf. There is very little international capacity in this market at the moment, and this is currently not a viable option for Cape Town. Barges are also generally more expensive than land-based desalination.

5. So why aren’t we doing more desalination in Cape Town?
For arid and drought-stricken coastal cities, desalination can be an important source of water which is completely independent of local rainfall. However, desalination remains the resource of last resort for most cities because it is the most expensive. Desalination takes longer to bring online than drilling the shallower boreholes in Atlantis and the Cape Flats. Desalination would also be more cost-effective at larger scales between 150 to 200 million litres per day would be the best economy of scale for Cape Town.

6. What other constraints are there?
The availability of electricity is also a potential issue. Concerns have been raised in the United States that electricity supplies in local grids are not able to accommodate new desalination plants built in response to the Californian drought. South Africa is not long out of an electricity crisis. A further energy crisis at the same time as a water shortage would place this source at risk. Some plants overseas are starting to operate with solar energy, and this could be an option for Cape Town in the long-term. At the moment most of our energy is generated using coal-fired power stations and this means our energy generation puts a lot of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere which is a cause of climate change – which in turn would fuel future droughts.

9. How expensive is desalination compared to other water sources?
Globally desalination is between two to four times as expensive as most other sources depending on the relative cost of capital equipment (how much has to be imported etc), the cost of energy and the cost of labour to implement other water savings. By way of comparison the costs for Cape Town would be:

Raw surface water | between R1 and R4 per kilolitre
Alien clearing to release more water from our catchments | from R6 to R15 per kilolitre
New groundwater | around R15 per kilolitre
Reclaiming and re-using treated waste water | between R10 and R20 per kilolitre
Large-scale, permanent desalination | between R10 and R22 per kilolitre
Smaller, short-term desalination | R34 to R44 per kilolitre

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Quality Filtration Systems (QFS) & Osmoflo winning bid for Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront in Cape Town -South Africa

The contract to provide an emergency desalination plant for the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront in Cape Town was recently awarded to Quality Filtration Systems (QFS) and Osmoflo. According to QFS the project, which will address the increasing water demands of the City of Cape Town region, will involve the supply, installation and commissioning of a fully containerised 2 MLD seawater reverse osmosis and multimedia filtration plant. This will be delivered under a rental contract to the City of Cape Town for a minimum duration of 24 months. With a tight completion schedule of 8 weeks, the plant is scheduled to be operational by March 2018. Herman Smit, Managing Director of QFS says the company has been following the City of Cape Town’s need to augment severely restricted potable water supplies and the collaboration between and Osmoflo on this project will help to bring fast relief to the severe water shortages in the area. “The V&A Waterfront desalination project feels like the culmination of years of promoting membrane equipment for the treatment of potable and waste water. It is satisfying to use our 21 years of experience to contribute to the Cape Town augmentation program for some relief during the drought,” he adds.

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Dinoflagellates species (Red Tide) at Wilayat of Seeb and Barka – Oman

Desalination units hit as Red Tide phenomenon prevails- Oman Observer- MUSCAT: The Public Authority for Electricity and Water (Diam) is monitoring the situation of Red Tide in the sea in the Wilayat of Barka, according to the SCADA Centre.
The desalination units continue to be affected by this Tide phenomenon in the wilayat. According to the centre, the water companies are continuing their efforts to operate the units when the plankton levels are low in seawater to ensure maximum water production. The main emergency committee of the centre monitored the measures taken to ensure the customers in the Wilayat of Seeb are not affected by any shortage of water. The committee stressed the need to take all measures to ensure water distribution is not affected. It has lauded the measures taken to mitigate the impact of the Red Tide. Red Tide is a phenomenon known as algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms). It is caused by some species of dinoflagellates and the bloom takes on a red/brown colour. Red Tides are events in which estuarine, marine or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column, resulting in coloration of the surface water. It is usually found in coastal areas. These algae, a form of phytoplankton, are plant-like organisms that can form dense, visible patches near the water’s surface. (LINK)

Villagers demand closure of South Ganga Water Technology Private Limited desalination plant

Residents of Krishnapuram and nearby villages staged a protest at the Collectorate, demanding the closure of South Ganga Water Technology Private Limited, a private desalination plant, alleging that its effluents posed serious health hazards. Led by M. Karunamurthy, district secretary of the CITU affiliated to Tamil Nadu Meenpidi Thozhirsanga Koottamaippu, people from Krishnapuram, Pudukudiuruppu and Panaikulam thronged the Collectorate here on Thursday and raising slogans, demanding the permanent closure of the plant. Earlier, they gathered at the entrance of the Collectorate complex and attempted to take march blindfolded, but Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Natarajan persuaded them to give up the stir. Later, they assembled inside the Collectorate and staged the agitation. Mr. Karunamurthy said after the district administration ordered suspension of operation of the plant in July last, for failing to set right the infrastructures and carrying out modifications as per the guidelines, the management produced completion certificates and the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) has permitted the company to resume operations from January. The protestors objected to the permission, alleging that the plant had done enough problems to the residents of Krishnapuram and nearby villages and it should not be allowed to operate until it was held accountable especially for polluting the groundwater sources and the local oorani (water body) by letting out chemical effluents. Two people have died of kidney ailments after consuming the contaminated water and the plant should be held responsible for the deaths, Mr. Karunamurthy said. The villagers also opposed to desilting the Annavi Oorani, which was used by the plant to store the effluents. The water body was the only evidence for the destruction caused by the plant and the desilting would amount to destroying the evidence, they said. They urged Collector S. Natarajan to cancel the permission order given by the RDO and protect their interests. The Collector said he would look into the issue and take necessary action. The 0.5 MLD desalination plant had been functioning in the village since 2005 and has been supplying treated water to the gas based power plants at Vazhuthur.

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Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station turned on desalination plant

Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station today turned on its temporary mobile groundwater desalination plant, which will ease the pressure on the City of Cape Town’s water supply. “When the City of Cape Town called on the people of the Western Cape to address the water issue, we had to respond with a sustainable solution as a responsible corporate citizen,” Velaphi Ntuli, Koeberg Power Station manager said. Ntuli explained: “The desalination plant is part of Koeberg’s three-pronged water management strategy to address the current water shortages in the Western Cape while ensuring that the plant is able to provide safe and sustainable electricity. “This strategy includes reducing the power station’s daily water usage, keeping adequate on-site water storage and looking at alternative water supplies (groundwater and sea water).” He added: “To this end, we have saved approximately 115,000 kl since June 2017, compared to previous averages. This equates to the City of Cape Town supplying 10.5 kl of water to approximately 11,000 houses for a month. Our water tanks are kept full to cater for emergencies.” The Koeberg facility has a water storage facility on site, which acts as a buffer and enables the plant to run for two weeks in the event of a water shortage – this power station can only operate about two weeks without off-site potable water. The desalination solution was therefore quite important to ensure continuity of supply, the parastatal stressed. The temporary ground water desalination plant will produce 920m3/day. This water will be used for the plant’s process purposes, and human consumption in buildings and areas within the power station’s direct water reticulation network. It is worth noting that Koeberg saves 22 billion litres of fresh water per annum as its condensers are cooled by means of sea water – the brine (waste) is returned to the sea after use. The temporary desalination plant is developed under a Build Own Operate agreement between the utility and South African water treatment solutions firm, Veolia. According to utility sources, the contract is valid for a 12-month period from date of operation, with option to extend to 18 months. This should allow for enough time to bring the permanent plant online – expected to come into operation in Q1 2019. The parastatal said in a statement that the permanent ground water desalination plant will produce 1,440m3/day. This water will be used for process purposes and human consumption in the buildings and areas within the power station’s direct water reticulation network. (LINK)

Notifier Stop – Future of RO Membranes S-001-2018

Unfortunately, due to the large number of registrations, we are currently unable to accept further registrations.

We are currently striving for an alternative space.

We would like to refer you to our publication after this event.

Seminar LINK

 

Abu Dhabi invited international firms to express interest in building desalination plant – UAE

Bids invited for construction of massive Abu Dhabi desalination plant – Plant will have a capacity of 200 million gallons (757.000 m³/d) per day. Abu Dhabi has invited international firms to express their interest in building one of the world’s biggest water desalination plants as authorities in the UAE’s capital look to increase capacity in order to meet rising demand. Estimated to cost between $600 million and $1.2 billion, the plant will have a capacity of 200 million gallons per day, said Adil al-Saeedi, acting director of privatisation at the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), in a Reuters report. Companies are likely to be prequalified by the second quarter of 2018, while a developer will be selected by the third quarter of the year, he added. The chosen developer will own up to 40% of a special purpose vehicle that will sign a long-term agreement with ADWEA to sell water. The authority will directly or indirectly own the rest of the equity in the project. The UAE capital currently has a water production capacity of around 960 million gallons per day from 10 desalination plants. (LINK)

NGO calls on government to reopen Teshie Desalination plant – Ghana

A Non-Governmental Organization called, Water for Rural Africa has called on the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and the government to expedite the re-opening of the Teshie Desalination plant. GWCL ordered the shutdown of the plant effective January 1, 2018, for a renegotiation of the contractual agreement between the company and the managers of the plant, Messrs Befessa. Residents of Teshie, Nungua and other surrounding communities, have experienced poor quality and inconsistency in water supply to the area following the shutdown of the desalination plant. According to them, they receive water only twice each week, which takes place at dawn, making life unbearable for them. Speaking to Citi News, the Projects and Program Director of Water for Rural Africa Joachim Kumapley said the shutdown has greatly affected the people in the community. He called for the contract negotiations between the government and the managers of the facility to be accelerated in order for consistent supply of quality water to the affected areas to resume, “What we want the Ghana Water company and the government to do is that the re-negotiation that they want to do, we want it to be fast-track, because of some of the things because some these things can a lot of time if you know the legal implication of it,” he said. About the desalination plant: The Accra desalination plant is located at Nungua in the Kpeshie district, and it is the first desalination plant built in Ghana. It started commercial operation in March 2015 and was officially inaugurated in April 2015. The $125m project has a capacity to desalinate 60,000m3 of sea water daily, providing fresh water to more than 300,000 people in some municipalities of the Greater Accra Region. It marked a significant step in improving drinking water facilities in the country, which is witnessing rapid population growth. The plant was designed, constructed and is being operated by Befesa Desalination Developments Ghana, a joint venture of Abengoa Water Investments Ghana, Daye Water Investment (Ghana), and local partner Hydrocol. Befesa operates and will maintain the plant for 25 years. Construction started in November 2012, creating 400 direct and indirect jobs in the region. (LINK)

Evoqua’s modules in wastewater recovery and reuse

EDR skid featuring two NEXED6-8A-0 modules. A new installation of Evoqua’s NEXED Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR) module, part of the Ionpure product family, is up and running. The EDR system recovers Reverse Osmosis wastewater which was previously sent to drain. 85% of wastewater recovered. – The system was engineered and built by Agape Water Solutions, Inc. and installed by Northeast Water Services Inc. Nexed technology treats Reverse Osmosis concentrate with varying salinity and recovers 85% of the wastewater. The recovered 85% is of equal or better quality than the RO feed water and is returned to the RO inlet. Northeast Water Services Inc proposed the system in response to the client’s exact needs for water quality and recovery rate. Automatic controls are programmed by Agape Water Solutions using Evoqua’s proprietary automatic current algorithm for its Ionpure and Nexed modules. This continuously and automatically adjusts power supplied to the modules to maintain product conductivity, without wasting more power.  Specifically, the skid was custom engineered using two Nexed 6-8A-0 modules to reliably produce a total of 20 gallons per minute (75 l/min). Agape Water Solutions and Evoqua were selected, as the customer was impressed with the first EDR pilot system, built in 2015.

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Teshie, Nungua residents struggle for water – Ghana

Residents of Teshie, Nungua and other surrounding communities have expressed their dissatisfaction at the quality and consistency of water supply to the area following the shutdown of the desalination plant by the Ghana Water Company. According to them, they received water two or three days in a week and it comes at dawn making life unbearable for them. Others also complain bitterly about the quality of the water, lamenting that it has a brownish colour with an unpleasant smell and poses serious health risks to them. The Ghana Water Company directed the shutdown of the plant effective January 1, 2018 for the renegotiation of the contractual agreement between the company and the managers of the plant, Messrs Befessa. The statement further indicated that the Accra and Tema Booster stations will serve as alternative water sources for the affected areas. Some of the affected areas include Teshie, Nungua, Sakumuno, Laashibi, Communities 16,17 and 18Adorgono, Baatsona, Coastal Estates, Greda Estates, Regimanuel Estates, all of Spintex Road and surrounding communities. ABOUT THE DESALINATION PLANT – The Accra seawater desalination plant is located at Nungua in the Kpeshie district and is the first desalination plant built in Ghana.The plant started commercial operation in March 2015 and was officially inaugurated in April 2015. The $125m project has a capacity to desalinate 60,000m3 of sea water daily providing fresh water to more than 300,000 people in various municipalities of the Greater Accra administrative region. It marks a significant step in improving drinking water facilities in the country, which is witnessing rapid population growth. The plant was designed, constructed and is being operated by Befesa Desalination Developments Ghana, a joint venture of Abengoa Water Investments Ghana, Daye Water Investment (Ghana), and local partner Hydrocol. Befesa operates and is supposed to maintain the plant for 25 years. Construction started in November 2012, creating 400 direct and indirect jobs in the region. Citi News’ Anass Seidu visited some of the affected areas and filed this report.

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