R1 billion price tag on desalination plant for metro

OCTOBER 14, 2014

Estimations of the cost of a 60-megalitre a day desalination plant for Nelson Mandela Bay are in the region of R1 billion, according to a report to be submitted to the Infrastructure, Engineering and Energy Committee this week.

Water and Sanitation Director Barry Martin says that because of the high cost implications, alternatives for funding will need to be investigated.

He says that the alternatives will include the option of funding supplied by the contractor on a “capital cost repayment system based on desalinated water sales”.

Martin points out that the Algoa Reconciliation study concluded that “a sea water desalination plant will be needed in the near future to meet the growing demands on the NMBM water supply”.

He says that Phase 1, the site selection investigation for the plant, has now been concluded and detailed investigations will now take place in order to obtain environmental authorisation and prepare the design and tender documentation for implementation.

Following an analysis of the sites, approval was given for the Schoenmakerskop inland site to be the preferred location and Phase 2 was undertaken on this basis.

He says that it is “imperative that the detailed feasibility study (Phase 2) should be concluded as soon as possible for the metro to be in a position to implement and commission the plant in the near future”.

Martin says that the detailed studies in Phase 2 will focus on desalination technical investigations, such as the conceptual plant layout and sea water quality studies, as well as marine and coastal infrastructure, including the sea water intake and outfall infrastructure and hydrodynamic modelling.

In addition, Phase 2 will focus on pump stations and the pipelines preliminary design and power supply that will include possible alternate energy sources.

Martin says the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) has been appointed for the management and implementation of the programme and a desktop water quality assessment has been completed.

He says the EIA for the project should be completed by December 2016 with the earliest commissioning of the desalination plant 2020. - metrominutes