The Sorek Desalination Plant, 15km south of Tel Aviv, turns sea water into drinkable water for 1.5-million people through reverse osmosis. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Sorek Desalination Plant, 15km south of Tel Aviv, turns sea water into drinkable water for 1.5-million people through reverse osmosis. Picture: SUPPLIED

Don Pinnock wrote in the context of phosphate mining that "if you imagine fish as birds of the ocean, they fly through forests and over fields that grow in the rich soil of the continental shelf. Just as on land, it’s earth teeming with roots and creatures that form the base of the sea’s food web and upon which its health depends. Around SA’s coasts that could soon change." 

As with phosphate contamination of the seabed, unless the correct technology is used in the proposed Cape Town desalination plants, we could be faced with a similarly huge environmental brine problem that would endanger the environment and create a knock-on cost escalation. All existing desalination technology results in the production of brine, which as waste is discharged into the ocean.

A revolutionary process was introduced recently that produces crystallised sea salt that can, as a desalination by-product, be commercially shipped and sold worldwide. It is the only means of desalinating seawater on a utility scale without the production of brine.

We should be informed how the Cape Town municipality plans to overcome these problems.

Rodney Mazinter, Via e-mail

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