Building Water Resilience

City releases Request for Information to industry on possible temporary water solutions

Cape Town in the midst of a major shock, our worst drought in 100 years.

At the May Council meeting, the City of Cape Town’s Council resolved to take a new water resilience approach to water management in the city.

Being resilient in an urban environment means that we have the capacity as individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow no matter what kind of acute stresses and shocks we experience.

In this regard, Council supported the creation of a Water Resilience Task Team under the leadership of the Chief Resilience Officer, which has set about augmenting the City’s response to drought, ensuring that acute water shortages are avoided, and transforming Cape Town’s water landscape into one that ultimately relies less on surface water.

Notwithstanding recent rains, the City is upscaling its efforts to secure new sources of temporary water supplies.

We cannot bank on there being sufficient rain in the remainder of winter to break the drought. It will take at least three consecutive winters of above-average rainfall to make a real difference to the availability of surface water.

Today, 19 June 2017, the City will formally post a Request for Ideas/Information (RFI) to the market for proposed solutions that will enable the City to temporarily establish several small, intermediate and possibly even large plants to supply potable water.

It is contemplated that these plants could use reverse osmosis, desalination, or similar technology from sea water, other surface water sources or treated run-off. The City is looking for solutions that can produce between 100 million litres and 500 million litres of potable water per day.

The City seeks to gauge the interest of for-profit and non-profit entities in forming possible partnerships with the City to supply, install, and operate temporary plants at various locations along the sea shore and at certain inland locations, for the injection of potable water – the standards of which are defined by SANS 241 of 2011 – into the City’s water distribution network.

It is envisaged that the first plants would be available for production towards the end of August 2017. The City would require these plants to be operational for at least six months, but might require the plants to be in operation for a longer period of time. The City will conduct regular water quality tests at each of these sites.

Responses to this RFI will help guide the City in determining the appropriate sourcing strategy in relation to future initiatives. The closing date for responses is 10 July 2017. Detailed information on the RFI, including the response template, can be on found on the City’s website.

It must be stressed that the temporary installation of water plants is intended to build resilience and to ensure that the households and businesses of Cape Town are not adversely affected by acute shortages of surface water.

The Water Resilience Task Team is also working on a multiplicity of actions to build a water resilient city.

The drought is not a one-solution problem. More permanent solutions will be announced in the coming months. With this in mind, all residents of Cape Town are reminded that each person must use less than 100 litres of water a day, as per the requirements of the Level 4 water restrictions.

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