Five-star hotel sets up own desalination plant in South Africa

The leading American luxury hotel brand, located close to the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town has sunk a borehole under the hotel to access the water source allowing for up to 11 500 liters of seawater to be pumped into tanks in one hour.

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Gary Bowers, chief engineer at the Radisson Blu Waterfront, with the hotel's new reverse-osmosis desalination plant. Image courtesy of: Radisson Blu Waterfront

A five-star hotel in Cape Town, South Africa has set up its own desalination plant to enable it get off the city’s water grid.

The Radisson Blu, a leading American luxury hotel brand, located close to the Atlantic Ocean has sunk a borehole under the hotel to access the water source allowing for up to 11 500 liters of seawater to be pumped into tanks in one hour.

“We dug a well under the hotel to access the water source. This allows us to pump enough water for our reverse osmosis plant to keep our hotel’s fresh water tank full at all times,” says Gary Bowers, the engineer who designed the desalination unit.

The hotel’s reverse-osmosis plant treats 7,000 litres of water per hour using sea water pumped from a 100m borehole which is then pumped into a 70,000 litres fresh- water tank.

The Radisson Blu Hotel is the latest massive business in Cape Town to install a reverse-osmosis desalination plant so as to disconnect from the city’s drinking water network.

Also read: New desalination technology to turn oceans into fresh water

Despite some stabilisation in the drinking water supply in Cape Town, restrictions on the use of the precious liquid remain in place thus, Radisson Blu Hotel has been forced to have its own drinking water source.

“Using a desalination plant allows us to operate completely off the municipal water supply,” said hotel general manager Clinton Thom.

Last year, Cape Town was at the brink of hitting “Day Zero” – when taps would have dried up – after prolonged drought. The city council constructed three temporary desalination plants – in Monwabisi, Strandfontein, and the V&A Waterfront. Four months ago, water restrictions were relaxed from level 5 to level 3.

In  2018, canned fish producer – Lucky Star, disconnected from the drinking water distribution network in Cape Town. The company commissioned two seawater desalination plants in Laaiplek and Amawandle Pelagic on the west coast of South Africa. Both plants provide 624,000 litres of fresh water per day.

Read More: Fear helped avert Day Zero in Cape Town – Report