All the contractors are back on site after their annual breaks over the Festive Season and the seawater desalination project is on schedule for commissioning in the second week of February 2011, says the Municipality in a news release.
The plant is being built at a cost of R200 million at Voorbaai in Mossel Bay and will have a capacity to produce 15 million litres of desalinated seawater a day. A portion of this water will be available to PetroSA, which made a contribution of R80 million to the project.
The plant was inspected earlier this week by the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira, Alderman Emil Scheepers, chairperson of Council’s technical services committee, the Municipal Manager, dr Michele Gratz and Mr Dick Naidoo, Director of Technical Services of the Municipality.
The onshore plant is approximately 95 per cent complete and the laying of the marine pipelines will commence early next week. When the pipeline work has been completed, the coffer dam in the sea will be demolished and the beach and dune areas be rehabilitated and restored to their original state.
Because of the inherent hazards associated with a project such as the pipeline project, the particular stretch of beach where the plant is being built will be closed until mid-March 2011 to the public.
“We regret the inconvenience caused but a terrain such as this is very dangerous for people who do not know the safety risks and procedures. There will be heavy machinery and other equipment on site over the next number of weeks, and it is in people’s own interest to stay well clear from the site until all the work has been completed,” said the Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz.
Dr Gratz said that as there is enough water in the Wolwedans Dam as well as the Klipheuwel, Hartebeeskuil and Ernst Robertson Dams now to last the Municipality until next year and other new water sources such as the boreholes and the waste water reclamation plant will also contribute to the town’s water supply it is likely that, because of its high operating cost, the plant will be operated for a short time only and then be mothballed until the need for additional water arises again.
She said that plants such as these use a lot of electricity and as South Africa’s electricity supply situation is once again under great pressure, the Municipality will in all likelihood be requested to cut down on electricity consumption over the next few months.
The plant will nevertheless remain an invaluable asset from the point of view of securing Mossel Bay’s water supply in the longer term and also help to ensure that economic growth is not stunted because of a shortage of water. Mossel Bay is a drought-prone area and the plant will also make Mossel Bay less dependent on surface water in future, said Dr Gratz.
Photographed with the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira (second from right), at the desalination plant this week are, from left to right Mr Dick Naidoo, Director of Technical Services of the Municipality, Dr Michele Gratz, Municipal Manager, and Alderman Emil Scheepers.