Permanent desalination plants will benefit CT in long run, says expert

There are currently three temporary desalination plants in Cape Town.

FILE: The desalination plant under construction at Strandfontein. Picture: Zunaid Ismael/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Permanent desalination plants may be costly but they will keep the taps from running dry.

This is according to experts at the Water Institute of Southern Africa Conference in Cape Town.

The three-day conference is centred around water management, the quality of water and managing the ongoing drought.

There are currently three temporary desalination plants in Cape Town.

Two of the plants produce just under 10 million litres of water per day.

Pierre Fourie, who is a water process engineer, says permanent water desalination plants will benefit residents in the long run.

"People are going to get more in Cape Town. Water is going to be more scarce and we only get so much rain. There might be another drought in a couple of years from now. Then sea water is a good alternative. If there is no other water, where are we going to get the water from?"

Fourie says Cape Town is fortunate to be surrounded by sea water.

"Sea water is a tried and tested thing. It is expensive from an energy standpoint but it’s used all over the globe. And therefore low risk. We need to feed the people with proper water."

Permanent desalination plants may cost tax payers billions of rands.

The question of whether can government afford them or not remains unanswered.