Everyone is talking about South Africa’s current water crisis. A problem far greater than what they have led us to believe, South Africa’s wastewater treatment plants are in a critical state in terms of incompetence and neglect. While the government is quick to point fingers at bad weather patterns, theft and vandalism – this is a long-standing problem that has gone from bad to worse over the past few years and is a problem that is not going anywhere soon.
While it’s a basic human right of every South African to have access to clean water, this is not the case in most parts of South Africa. While metropolitan cities such as Cape Town, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have high-quality water supply, smaller towns, areas and communities are not so fortunate. Where some industries can reduce their water consumption, for others, reducing their water consumption means compromising product quality.
Water is considered as the “lifeblood” of most industries, from oil & gas, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and mining to food & beverage processing (the list of industries with growing water treatment challenges goes on and on) As the drive for environmentally friendly industrial water treatment systems grows more important in South Africa every day, many industries have turned to innovative, sustainable and cost-efficient solutions. Here’s what’s trending in the world of industrial water treatment:
#1 Desalination plants
With over 70% of the Earth made up of water and with over one-quarter of the world’s population living within less than 25 kilometres of the ocean, it just makes logical sense for industries along the coast to install a desalination plant, and that’s exactly what they are doing.
A vital technology for industrial water treatment, desalination plants convert salty water into drinkable water by removing salt and other solids from seawater or brackish water. Using processes, such as reverse osmosis or nanofiltration, desalination plants are a worthwhile investment in those industries that live near the coast as it can easily produce up to 25 million gallons of potable water every day.
#2 Environmentally friendly water recycling systems
As the scarcity of water becomes a more pressing issue and with rising concerns over the environment and the stringent compliance, legislative and environmental regulations against discharge and pollution, industries and municipalities are under increasing pressure to decrease their environmental footprint, forcing people to recycle and reuse their own water.
In seeking greater sustainability in water resource management, wastewater is now being considered more a resource than a waste and to preserve this precious resource for further use, many industries are installing their own environmentally friendly recycling systems using high-efficiency key technologies such as clarification, media filtration, reverse osmosis, evaporation, and ZLD (zero liquid discharge).