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Cape Town’s first desalination plant is online, but did it pass the taste test?

When Day Zero was first announced, many South Africans were concerned to find that Cape Town, a city which receives a substantial amount of rainfall, would be faced with low dam levels. The sad reality is that South Africans who live in disadvantaged areas already face water shortage but for Cape Town, a city that has not experienced this problem in the past, it came as a shock.

The residents of Cape Town were living in fear, anxious that the day would come when there would be no running water when they open their taps. Day Zero would have an immense impact on locals, people would have to purchase litres of water which would be used for drinking, and to cook and bathe themselves. Not only would the people of Cape Town be without water, it would soon become a luxury as the price of bottled water would also increase.

Ian Neilson, the deputy Cape Town Mayor said, “It was a difficult time for Cape Town, having to go to local points to gather water. But, with the help of Proxa Water and the City of Cape Town working together, a plan of action was put in place”.

The Western Cape needed to find a potable water alternative which could save the city from the dreaded Day Zero. The City of Cape Town decided that seawater desalination technology would be the best way to go about solving the water crisis.

Our goal, alongside Water Solution SA, was to produce 7.5 MLD potable water using the desalination process. Water Solution SA and Proxa needed to design and commission a 7.5 MLD water plant, which would be injected into the city’s reticulation. When building the desalination plant, we used robust pretreatments and advanced filtration cleaning systems, which would protect the membranes and ensure plant availability.

We supported a team of highly experienced designers and built the plant. Now that the plant is built, we will continue to operate and maintain Strandfontein for the duration of the project.

Neilson continued to mention that Proxa Water, Water Solution SA, and the City of Cape Town reached their goal through water extraction, screening, coagulation, advanced media filtration, SWRO, disinfection, and remineralisation.

The Strandfontein Desalination Plant in the City of Cape Town should be a case study that will be referenced in the future. With water shortage being a crisis all over the world, the innovative technology used to purify sea water could redress the water issue at hand across the globe.

Proxa Water specialises in water treatment solutions which cover the entire water cycle. Proxa Water offers various services to industries such as consulting, design, research, development, engineering, construction, and plant modernisation. The aim is providing services which are optimal, reliable and efficiently implemented to meet our client’s needs.

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