The South African National Energy and Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Department of Defence (DoD) on July 27 announced a partnership to develop an energy efficient water treatment works at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Air Force Base, in Hoedspruit, in the Maruleng municipality, Limpopo, to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project will focus on the provision of clean water that will have a direct impact on supporting and promoting good hygiene and to curb the spread of infectious diseases.
Hoedspruit is situated in a severely water stressed area and the municipality faces many electricity and water supply challenges.
The Maruleng municipality must deliver services hampered by an ageing, often defunct and energy inefficient infrastructure of sewage and water treatment works, which is based on the SANDF’s Air Force Base.
The SANDF is able to facilitate a direct intervention by SANEDI to assess and ultimately implement energy solutions to assist with the situation, allowing for clean water distribution within Hoedspruit and surrounds. The collaboration between SANEDI and the SANDF is a mutually beneficial one and is expected to expedite this five-year project towards completion.
The parties will initially assess the current infrastructure at the air force base, looking specifically at energy consumption as well as the current state of repair and operations of the water treatment plant and the sewage works. SANEDI will also investigate the opportunities for clean energy interventions, including energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, across this water treatment infrastructure.
Based on the assessments and available data, SANEDI will recommend the relevant energy and water system interventions. This is expected to lead to project initiation later this year.
“The water treatment works project at Hoedspruit Air Force Base will focus primarily on process energy efficiency, possible renewable energy interventions and system support towards efficient, reliable and clean water provision," SANEDI Renewable Energy Centre of Research & Development clean energy manager Dr Karen Surridge explained.
“The project is expected also to include skills development and transfer, long-term maintenance and development of an established inter-institutional support team comprising SANEDI, the SANDF and the Maruleng municipality.”
Major General Joseph Ledwaba of the Defence Works Formation, under the Command of Chief Logistics Lieutenant General Jabulani Mbuli, added that, as part of this energy intervention, the DoD was looking forward to a fruitful collaboration that led to a reliable and health-promoting water treatment and supply to the Hoedspruit community.
Additionally, alongside facilitating collaboration with the municipality, the SANDF will provide system maintenance and structural implementation support.
Also, any hardware installation will be protected by the SANDF – access control will therefore be stringent, helping to prevent potential theft and vandalism.