A impressive interest in the City of Cape Town’s call to boost its diminishing water supply by companies in the private sector, is showing positive moves towards the future of the Mother City’s water supply.

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, in a media release published late last week.

If all goes to plan, this would be followed with emergency augmentation tenders every two weeks.

The RFPs are part of a group of drought interventions in Cape Town’s efforts to produce an extra 500-million litres of water a day. Various processes had to be finalised, the City of Cape Town noted, 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 an escalating interest in desalination options over the past few months, the city announced on 17 August 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.

Through its recent request-for-information process, the city said it had gathered information on potential solutions to the water crisis. This included desalination at various scales, water reuse technology, aquifer and borehole options, engineering and infrastructure options, as well as water demand management.

“The next eight months will be critical. According to our calculation, 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 pubic as much as possible during this time and we ask residents to stand with us and be constructive partners,” said Kesson.

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