More needs to be done to ensure the recycling of water and the desalination of water was a “serious option” to augment South Africa’s strained water supply, Western Cape Department of Water and Sanitation provincial head Rashid Khan said on Tuesday.
In an opinion piece to clarify the “many facets to desalination”, he stressed that the first point of entry should be the recycling of partially treated effluent or fresh water in need of “further polishing”.
“The smart approach would be to recycle the partially treated final effluent through desalination or an ultrafiltration process that may yield additional water of high quality, which may go a long way towards alleviating our prevailing water security concerns during this period of higher levels of water stress,” he explained.
While the possibilities included desalination through the reverse osmosis method to yield high-quality water that may be considered suitable for human consumption, the costly reverse osmosis can be substituted for a cheaper, but lesser-quality yielding, indirect reuse methodology.
“This human use may, at first, exclude water for drinking purposes, but human use can still refer to water for washing of clothes, or even general washing purposes,” he added.
While many initiatives were being advanced to develop the treatment of final effluent, where the final effluent from the wastewater treatment works is subjected to further treatment for direct or indirect reuse, more needed to be done to promote the recycling of water.