TNPA develops its first Water Desalination Plant to improve freshwater supply

Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA’s) development of a groundbreaking Water Desalination Plant is set to improve the reliability of freshwater supply to users of South Africa’s only river port, the Port of East London. TNPA has awarded a Joint Venture – Norland Civil Engineers and Contractors and Impact Water Solutions (PTY) Ltd (IWS), trading as Sun Water East London – a R60 million contract to construct and operate the solar-powered water desalination plant over seven years.

“The introduction of this alternative water solution is a step towards the advancement of the port system and seeks to minimise TNPA’s reliance on external parties for the provision of freshwater. The project is in line with the Ports Authority’s strategic plan of increasing its utilities supply resilience and ensuring security of utilities supply by 2029,” said acting TNPA Chief Executive, Advocate Phyllis Difeto.

The first-ever seawater desalination plant will produce 0.5 mega litres (ML) per day and convert seawater into potable water in line with drinking quality standards. Key to this initiative is TNPA’s use of renewable energy to complement other energy sources.

“The use of solar-power technology will help towards reducing the cost of operations,” added Adv. Difeto. IWS, a South African company that offers a wide range of services in the water sector, has experience in developing, financing, building and operating decentralised water infrastructure by integrating renewable energy with the most innovative water technologies.

The other company in the JV, Norland Construction, specialises in concrete reservoirs, pipelines, irrigation canals and other building earthworks amongst other capabilities. Norland Construction brings engineering and fit-for-purpose equipment to ensure the highest quality of construction and delivery workmanship of the within the stipulated timeframe.

Norland has embraced the principles of empowerment and currently holds a Level 1 B-BBEE scorecard. Approximately 100 direct and indirect jobs are expected be created, and this is likely to increase during project execution, for the benefit of the East London community.