The Mossel Bay Municipality’s seawater desalination plant, which was built at a cost of R191,4 million and commissioned in November 2011, won the joint award of the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa (IMESA) and Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) in the category for water and waste water projects for 2012.
The award was received by Mr Dick Naidoo, Director of Technical Services of the Municipality, at IMESA’s annual conference, which is being held in George this week. The plant, South Africa’s biggest seawater desalination plant to date, won CESA’s top award for 2011 in the category for projects between R50 million to R250 million.
“We are pleased to have received another award for this project, which is invaluable to Mossel Bay from a water security point of view. Although our dams are full at present the Southern Cape is periodically prone to droughts and this plant will help Mossel Bay to cope well should the area suffer severe droughts again in future. It will also help the town from a growth perspective.
“As the plant was built at a time when the Southern Cape was declared a disaster area as a result of the worst drought in the area in 132 years, the Municipality could access State funding to build the project. PetroSA, which is entitled to a third of the production of this 15 Ml/day plant, also contributed to its cost. This resulted in the ratepayers of Mossel Bay having to contribute only about 16% of the cost of the plant instead of the full cost of the plant. A seawater desalination plant was already on the cards for Mossel Bay for 2014, but the drought from 2008 to 2010 resulted in the project having had to be brought forward,” said the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira.
The plant is operated in operating and maintenance mode at present and will continue to be operated in this mode unless droughts, peak consumption periods of economic development priorities require it to be operated at higher capacities than at present.
The Municipality embarked on the project at a stage when the Wolwedans Dam, the Municipality’s main source of water was expected to run dry by the end of 2010. Despite strict water restrictions the dam’s level dropped to just 14,5 per cent in October 2010. The dam is more than 100 per cent full at present.
From left to right, Mr Dick Naidoo (Director of Technical Services). the Executive Mayor, Alderlady Marie Ferreira, and the Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz.