water resources

Plans are underway to build South Africa’s first solar-powered desalination plant at Witsand in the Hessaqua municipality.

This will be an addition to at least four desalination plants operating in the Western Cape.

According to the BusinessLIVE, the French government in collaboration with the Western Cape provincial government have committed to invest R9 million for the project, on a 50-50 basis.

French ecology minister Nicolas Hulot attended the launch of the project on Monday together with Western Cape finance MEC Ivan Meyer.

The project is expected to be commissioned at the end of October and will deliver 100 kilo litres of fresh water daily. Read more: Saudi firm signs MoU for power and water desalination opportunities

Osmosis desalination technology

The desalination plant will be installed using the osmosun technology, developed by French company Mascara Renewable Water in partnership with local partner, TWS-Turnkey Water Solutions.

This is reported to be the world’s first reverse osmosis desalination technology coupled with photovoltaic solar energy without batteries.

It is designed to supply coastal or borehole-dependent communities with drinking water.

Providing affordable water

News24 reported that the solar-powered desalination plant will produce water at a cost of R7 to R8 a kilolitre. This is less than a quarter of the cost of water from Cape Town's temporary desalination plant at Strandfontein.

At present, water from the Strandfontein plant, which is powered by diesel, costs between R35 and R40 a kilolitre.