Companies have expressed a resounding interest in the City of Cape Town’s call to boost its dwindling water supply.
In a media release published Thursday, the City of Cape Town noted that tender specifications for procuring and commissioning various water augmentation schemes have been downloaded 1 600 times since it issued the first of multiple requests for proposals (RFPs) last week. This first RFP was for land-based, salt water reverse osmosis desalination plants.
This would be followed with emergency augmentation tenders every two weeks, if all goes to plan.
“The scale of what we are doing is unprecedented in all regards,” noted the city.
The RFPs are part of a basket of drought interventions in Cape Town’s bid to produce an extra 500-million litres of water a day.
The City of Cape Town noted that various processes had to be finalised, including the issuing of about 20 tenders for the various required schemes over the next few weeks and months.
“As soon as time frames become available, this will be communicated. It is envisaged that all of our emergency schemes will be implemented, to some degree, within the next eight months. This has been a result of months of detailed planning, which has been built on years of detailed planning.”
There has been a surge of interest in desalination options over the past few months. The city announced on August 17 that it had advertised its first tender for desalination and hopes to have its first temporary desalination plant up and running by October.
“While we are working towards our long-term goal of becoming a more water resilient city, the city is also focusing on averting a potential crisis of running out of water through the introduction of our emergency schemes, such as the temporary desalination plants.
“We have been careful to look at potential sites where multiple communities across Cape Town can help to share the load of this absolutely vital intervention.”
Desalination has been proposed on barges in Cape Town Harbour and at land-based containers at Koeberg, Silverstroom, Woodbridge Island, Granger Bay, Hout Bay, Red Hill, Strandfontein, Monwabisi, and Harmony Park, in Cape Town.
The city said it had gathered information on potential solutions to the water crisis through its recent request-for-information process. This included desalination at various scales, water reuse technology at various scales, aquifer and borehole options, engineering and infrastructure options, as well as water demand management.
“The city’s technical experts scrutinised the submissions and were able to determine, with a significantly higher degree of clarity, the feasibility, potential cost and timeframes of commissioning various options, from procurement to delivery. Hence, an extensive procurement plan could be developed and procurement has commenced.
“The next eight months will be critical. According to our calculations, we need to bring consumption down to 500-million litres of water [a day], and therefore build up reserves to help us to get through as much of the summer as possible, towards winter 2018. Reducing consumption still remains absolutely vital.”
The City of Cape Town’s chief resilience officer Craig Kesson said the city would apply its good governance principles “even during this time of crisis”.
“We need to, however, make it very clear that we must move ahead with these temporary emergency interventions now for the good of Cape Town and all of its residents. We will attempt to communicate with members of the public as much as possible during this time and we ask residents to stand with us and be constructive partners,” said Kesson.
Dam storage levels are currently at 34.2%, with useable water at 24.2%. Cape Town’s collective consumption is at 599-million litres of water a day. This is 99-million litres above the target of 500-million litres.