Luxury Cape Town hotel gets off the water grid with new desalination plant

08 April 2019 - 16:18 By Sumin Woo
Gary Bowers, chief engineer at the Radisson Blu Waterfront, with the hotel's new reverse-osmosis desalination plant.
Gary Bowers, chief engineer at the Radisson Blu Waterfront, with the hotel's new reverse-osmosis desalination plant.
Image: Radisson Blu Waterfront

A five-star hotel in Cape Town has built its own desalination plant to enable it to get off the city's water grid.

The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in Granger Bay can produce 7,000 litres of fresh water an hour using sea water pumped from a 100m borehole.

The hotel is the latest large business in Cape Town to install a reverse-osmosis desalination plant so that it is no longer reliant on mains water.

How the desalination plant at the Radisson Blu Waterfront has been configured.
How the desalination plant at the Radisson Blu Waterfront has been configured.
Image: Radisson Blu Waterfront

Engineers sank a borehole under the hotel, which is close to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing for up to 11,500l of seawater an hour to be pumped into tanks.

The reverse-osmosis plant treats 7,000l an hour, which is pumped into a 70,000l fresh- water tank.

"Using a desalination plant allows us to operate completely off the municipal water supply," said hotel general manager Clinton Thom.

A year ago, Cape Town was only weeks away from "Day Zero" - when taps would have been turned off - after three winters of low rainfall. The city council constructed three temporary desalination plants - in Strandfontein, Monwabisi and the V&A Waterfront.

Dams are now around half full. Four months ago, water restrictions were relaxed from level 5 to level 3.

Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, said: "Only 1% of people in the Western Cape at any one time are comprised of overseas tourists and visitors, but it's essential that the tourism industry leads the way in sustainable practices." 


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