It is time for a complete change of approach to the Western Cape drought problem. What Cape Town and the province need to do is follow exactly the procedure the government used to set up the independent power producers (IPP). In other words, call for tenders to supply water and guarantee to buy that water at a fixed price over the next 20 years. That will enable the desalination firms or those offering alternate technologies to raise the finance and get to work on a permanent solution to its water problems. The result of the IPP project became the international best practice for procuring renewable energy for the electricity grid. It should work even better for water as desalination produces a steady supply without the variations associated with renewable electricity. The other advantage is that the project would be funded by the water producers and would cost the council nothing. The additional costs of the water would go to consumers over the next 20 years as they use the water. T...

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