Works to extract water from Monwabisi

Construction is under way at the Monwabi desalination plant.

As the dam levels continue to decline in the province, the City of Cape Town is working tirelessly to ensure that taps do not run dry by constructing several desalination plants, including one at Monwabisi Beach.

Site preparation for the Monwabisi desalination plant got under way after some minor delays.

The plant is one of seven projects earmarked for development in the first phase of the City’s Additional Water Supply Programme.

The City anticipates that the Monwabisi plant will produce seven million litres of drinking water a day to supplement the current supply from the dams and other water sources.

The City said the first drinking water generated by the desalination plant is expected to be fed into the reticulation system next month, with the second phase of five million litres after nine weeks.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson said the plant would operate for two years, based on a service agreement in which the City would buy water from the service provider.

“The Monwabisi project experienced some initial delays while facilitating further community engagement in the area. Now, with the support of the community, the project is progressing steadily with the service provider trying to make up the delays where possible,” he said.

Residents of Nkanini, who normally spend days without water, welcomed the news of the plant.

Those who spoke to Vukani said they had experienced much hardship and uncertainty due the lack of water, which made them feel vulnerable.

Nokwanda Simelani, who was not even aware that the steamrollers and trucks were working not far from her home, said Nkanini and the nearby area has been hit hard by water shortages. She said Nkanini has battled the worst.

“Yoh, I did not know!” she exclaimed when told about the construction of the desalination plant at Monwabisi beach.

She said these have been challenging days for everyone. Praising the work by the City, she in return urged people to work with the officials to fight the drought.

“These are the moments that faith should be seen and be practised. We are in desperate need of water and we all know that water brings life. The community needs to work with those who know better and stop water wasting. Surely this plant is bringing much needed relief. I cannot wait to see it working soon,” she said.

Thando Khupelo of eNdlovini also commended the work by the City. He said the water crisis had affected them even before the drought.

Mr Khupelo said his only wish would be that people of informal settlements be supplied with enough water when the plant was in operation.

“Surely it will help us all but we have been struggling with water even before this drought. All I pray for is more water for us. It has been a challenging times for us,” he said.