Plant plan concern for Mouille Point residents

Dave Bryant.

Mouille Point residents have expressed concern about a proposed desalination plant in Granger Bay.

The Granger Bay site is set to be on the corner of Beach and Fritz Sonnenberg roads.

Mayor Patricia de Lille announced the desalination plant’s proposal as part of the water emergency plan last month.

Two other sites proposed by the City of Cape Town for desalination plants are located in Hout Bay and Dido Valley.

Jane Meyer, of the Mouille Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said that they understood that we were in the middle of a crisis, but residents felt the site for the plant was inappropriate. She said the other two proposed sites weren’t near residential or busy tourist areas.

She said a meeting was set up with the City of Cape Town for Wednesday September 13. “We will decide how to proceed following the meeting. We feel that the area is inappropriate and ill-thought out.”

Dave Bryant, who is ward councillor for the area and also sits on the City’s water sustainability advisory panel, said City officials were still evaluating the proposed tenders. The tender process closed on August 30.

“The whole process is still under way and nothing has been decided yet. As councillors, we don’t have any say in the tender process.”

However, he said that the important thing to remember was that any desalination plant would be in place temporarily for two years. Also, the plant was likely to be in the harbour and not on the beachfront in the residential area.

“We are in the middle of the most severe drought and dam levels are at their lowest in 100 years. Our key priority is to make sure that there is enough water for Capetonians to survive.”

Mr Bryant said he would be willing to set up a meeting between residents and City officials once any plan had been approved. He added that the normal public participation process had to be skipped given the emergency situation.

On Monday September 11, the City said dams had 27.2 % usable water left. The City also recently announced Level 5 water restrictions.

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, said drought efforts continued to be centred around two key thrusts: “To reduce water usage to 500 million litres per day of collective consumption while at the same time bringing on board an additional emergency supply of 500 million litres per day to see the city through as much of summer 2017/18 as possible.”

Ms Limberg told the Atlantic Sun that Cape Town’s rugged coast and rough seas made it hard to find a suitable site for the desalination plant. “The sites have therefore been chosen after much overall examination. The temporary desalination plants cannot be situated only in one area.

“Granger Bay is one of the first three sites for temporary desalination and the footprint is to be kept as small as possible. Over the coming weeks, the City will be focusing on other locations.”

She said dams would likely take several years to fill up again and without urgent measures the city would very likely face acute water shortages very soon.

“Addressing the lack of water in our system can only be done if all residents collectively contribute to help us to mitigate this crisis,” she said.