Nelson Mandela Bay residents to benefit from mega desalination plant

21 April 2017

In a bold initiative directed at relieving ongoing water shortages, discussions have begun around establishing the Nelson Mandela Bay region’s first large-scale, commercial desalination plant.

Although expensive to operate due to high energy requirements, a desalination plant would play a critical role in preparing sea water for human consumption through the removal of the salt and other mineral contents from sea water.

This would provide a new source of water for the Nelson Mandela Bay region where water stocks are presently at dire levels.

The opportunity to establish the desalination plant in drought-stricken Port Elizabeth has come about through the national government’s “Adopt-a-Municipality” program, which will involve three major stakeholders in the Bay region – the local authority, beer producer SABMiller and Marina Sea Salt, which desalinates sea water to produce its products.

The Adopt-a-Municipality program is driven by the national Department of Cooperative Governance and SABMiller’s agreement, through which the company is about to be renewed. The desalination concept is also part of the new agreement.

SABMiller uses large quantities of high quality water to produce its beers, and was looking for cleaner sources of water and Marina Sea Salt produced water, which was desalinated to a certain degree, as a by-product of its salt production.

The Nooitgedacht water scheme,still to come online, will give the metro about 50-megalitres of water a day. Since the salt production operation produces about 30-megalitres of water a day, the idea would be to put more water through the salt operations where it would be further filtered through a desalination plant,making it fit for human consumption.

The project is still at preliminary discussion stage, and the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is also looking into desalination.The entire project,inclusive of harvesting desalinated water is projected to cost $109.5m

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