South Africa: Desalination Is the Key to Our Future Water Safety


The acute water shortages facing South Africa and the Cape provinces in particular, have forced on to the national stage the long-overdue debates about what we, as a country, need to do to augment our meagre water resources.

As a water scarce country with a growing population, South Africa needs to find more ways than what is currently on offer. Desalination, which has been identified as one of the measures to obviate the calamity that stares us in the face, is being branded by some as unsafe and a serious health risk to communities.

This is odd given the fact that desalination has, from time immemorial, been used as a source of water by water-stressed countries to augment their water resources. Globally, desalination is nothing new; in fact, it has been a major source of water in countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia. Neither are we, as a country, strangers to this type of water source.

The International Desalination Association (IDA) said last year that 18,426 desalination plants operated worldwide, producing 86.8-million cubic metres a day and providing water for 300-million people.

The controversy surrounding desalination as a response to our water challenge, and the many myths...

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