MUNICIPALITY WINS ENGINEERING AWARD FOR WATER PROJECT
The Mossel Bay Municipality has received a national award jointly with other municipalities in the Southern Cape for a visionary approach in developing new water sources to address the serious water shortage being experienced in the area for more than a year now.
The Visionary Client of the Year Award was made to the Eden District Municipality in partnership with the Mossel Bay, George, Knysna and Bitou municipalities by Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) at their 2010 Engineering Excellence Awards function which was held in Midrand on Wednesday, 18 August 2010.
CESA, previously known as the South African Association of Consulting Engineers, is a prestigious organisation, which was founded in 1952 and has a membership of over 460 consulting engineering firms.
Mossel Bay shared the award for its Reverse Osmosis plant for the purification of effluent water at Hartenbos. The plant was built in less than five months and completed at the end of June 2010 to supply up to 5 megalitres of water a day to PetroSA’s synthetic fuels plant at Mossel Bay. This is done in exchange for an equal portion of PetroSA’s quota from the Wolwedans Dam and thus saving valuable drinking-quality water for residential demand.
In their commendation, CESA said that Mossel Bay and the other municipalities concerned introduced innovative solutions to provide new water as a risk-free supplement to the surface water supplies and prevent supply failures in drought conditions.
It said that each of the projects, which include seawater desalination plants at Sedgefield, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and an effluent purification plant at George, are unique in South Africa, and will, over time, assist water authorities in compiling new water policies on reuse and desalination.
The plant has been designed in such a way that its capacity can be increased to 10 megalitres a day if needed. The plant cost R49 million to build and PetroSA contributed R22,5 million and the National Treasury R16,5 million. The balance was financed by the Mossel Bay Municipality from its own sources.
Although it was too late to qualify for the CESA awards, the Municipality has in the meantime also commenced with the construction of a seawater desalination project at Voorbaai at a cost of approximately R200 million.
With its capacity of 15 megalitres a day, it will be just over seven times bigger than the next biggest seawater desalination plant in South Africa to date. This plant, which will also use reverse osmosis technology to desalinate the seawater, is scheduled for completion at the end of January 2011 or early February 2011.
A third of the plant’s production is destined for PetroSA’s plant and the company will contribute R80 million to its cost. The balance of the production will supplement the Municipal water supply in times of water shortages.
Should it rain enough and the Municipality be able to rely on cheaper surface water once again, the plant is likely to be mothballed and only be used at peak times, such as during the year-end holiday season, if needed as seawater desalination is an expensive process that will impact on water tariffs.