Water windfall! Green light for Coega desalination plant and aquaculture zone
11 March 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202018322
DROUGHT relief efforts and attempts to get an aquaculture industry off the ground in the Eastern Cape have received a major boost.
This is after the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) received what it is hailing as “landmark” Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval for a 440-hectare land-based Aquaculture Development Zone (ADZ) and desalination plant in Zone 10 of the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
“The approval of the EIA is a major leap towards fulfilling the Coega SEZ’s vision to locate one of the largest ADZ’s in South Africa on one geographical footprint in the Coega SEZ and respond to the severe water shortages experienced by Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB),” said Dr Keith du Plessis CDC Manager: Project Development.
He said it had been found that failure by especially smaller companies to obtain EIA approval often result in projects never seeing the light of day. Because of this, the aquaculture sector in SA is largely untapped and under-performing.
“The approved EIA relieves the financial burden from the investor as it would ordinarily take up to two years for companies seeking to establish an aquaculture facility and or a desalination plant at the Coega SEZ. This is evidence of the CDC’s value proposition as a plug and play environment, where investors have shortened timeframes from when they enquire about investing to when they have access to market,” he said.
It’s a timely development. The NMB Municipality recently revealed that water levels of the metro’s supply dams have reached an all-time low of just above 24 percent. The CDC now has authorization to develop facilities for the desalination of water with a maximum capacity of 60 million litres per day.
“This capacity, if tapped into, could provide for almost a quarter of Nelson Mandela Metro’s current water consumption needs (currently at approximately 260 Ml/day). The CDC is a capable and potential solution to the water problems experienced in the metro,” Du Plessis said.
He added that costs associated with desalination were often viewed as a major obstacle to an extensive rollout of the technology, but that major strides had been made in this regard over the past few years that have seen the costs coming down substantially.