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City of Cape Town establishes an independent advisory panel for water reuse

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City of Cape Town establishes an independent advisory panel for water reuse

19th August 2022

By: Natasha Odendaal
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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The City of Cape Town has embarked on a new water programme that will increase available supply capacity by an additional 300-million litres of water a day through alternative means such as desalination, groundwater abstraction, managed aquifer recharge and direct potable water reuse.

The Water Research Commission (WRC), as part of the programme and on behalf of the city, has established a new and unique independent advisory panel (IAP) comprising experts in fields related to water reuse to provide advice on the purification and reuse of treated wastewater for drinking purposes in Cape Town.

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Water reuse is considered a low-hanging fruit as part of water conservation and water use efficiency, as well as a viable solution for supplementing drinking-quality water supply, as growing populations and other influences such as climate change are causing global water shortages and droughts in several parts of the world.

The City of Cape Town aims to take a leading role in South Africa and regionally by adopting the practice of establishing an independent expert panel as a means of demonstrating its commitment to the implementation of a safe water reuse programme.

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The main role of the IAP is to advise the local authorities on public health issues, as well as scientific and technical matters regarding the implementation of water reuse.

The IAP comprises 11 recognised academic and industry professionals with expertise and extensive experience in the implementation of water reuse schemes.

Seven members are local and regional experts, including Water Institute of Southern Africa water reuse division chairperson Dr Esper Ncube; University of Cape Town Future Water Institute lead researcher Dr Kevin Winter; Umgeni Water reuse demonstration plant lead process engineer Megan Schalkwyk; public health consultant Bettina Genthe; environmental and water governance consultant Carin Bosman; communications consultant Dr Sarah JC Slabbert; and Windhoek, Namibia, consultant Jurgen Menge.

Their international counterparts include Australia-based principal consultant Ian Law; Australia’s Griffith University School of Environment and Science Professor Frederic Leusch; Orange County, California, Groundwater Replenishment System chairperson and independent environmental engineering consultant Dr James Crook; and US-based water reuse/membrane technology consultant Troy Walker.

Initially, the established IAP will support the promotion of the transparent development of water reuse, through the implementation of the City of Cape Town’s proposed major reuse project, the Faure New Water Scheme, in a manner that enhances public health through the appropriate application of science, engineering and related best practices.

The IAP will be in place until June 30, 2024.

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