The Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) and activist campaigning for the protection of natural water sources and the end to selling of land to developers and big businesses will gather in the CBD for a picket today, calling attention to proposals for the implementation of desalination.
Desalination is a process that removes minerals from saline water via reversed osmosis. More generally, desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance, as in soil desalination, which is an issue for agriculture. Saltwater, such as sea water, is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption or irrigation.
Spokesperson of the campaign, Nazeer Sonday explains that the organisers are picketing in a bit to raise concern around the issue of desalination as a solution to the continued fight against the impact of drought within the country.
He says that MEC for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, is talking at a press conference sponsored by BP, a sponsorship that the organisers deem problematic and, therefore, called for the picket outside the premises.
While desalination is considered successful, it is considered costly since it entails the use of large amounts of energy.
“There are other issues beside it being very expensive in terms of energy; it is also expensive in terms of the cost of water. So, if desalination is punted, companies who put up the plant will make lots of money – who is going to pay for this?” he stated.
Sonday asserts that while he is not against the process of desalination, other available options need to be exhausted, including the harvesting of storm water.
“This means that when we have rain, instead of taking the water through pipes and into the sea, we allow it to pond into areas and it will sink into the soil…we are not [currently]hydrating our soil and aquifers .”
He says that campaigners have informed the city that waste water is currently directed toward Strandfontein and Zeekoevlei waste water filters.
“A lot of energy and water is used to clean our waste water and we are saying ‘why are we doing that?’. We should be rerouting that water once it’s clean into the Philippe Horticulture Area, recharging the aquifer and using it for agriculture.”
Sonday encourages members of the public to join the picket, which takes place at 6 Spin Street in the Cape Town CBD, between 12 and 2pm today.