Big businesses in Cape Town are pushing ahead with plans to get off the water grid by establishing their own water purification plants. Despite recent heavy rainfalls and rising dam levels, authorities say the drought is not over yet.

The Grand West Casino Complex is the latest entertainment hub to take this route. The water purification plant is worth R18 million. It taps into four boreholes on the premises.

Casino management says it is a bid to minimise reliance on municipal water. The plant uses a triple filtration system to supply safe drinking water and can deliver up to 10 000 kilolitres of water per month.

Engineers say the system has a cost saving element.

“The municipal water at this stage, with the level 6b restrictions cost us R50 a kilolitre. The plant at this stage can produce water at R9.20 a kilolitre which is a substantial saving for us, ” says Grandwest Engineering Manager Johan Gelderblom.

The complex houses, a hotel, restaurants and an ice rink, it has managed to reduce water usage by almost 50% through savings initiatives. Ice scraped from the ice rink is used for irrigation purposes,” says Grandwest General Manager Mervyn Naidoo says the main aim is to ensure business continuity.

Other major hotels in the Cape Town CBD have already begun efforts to minimise reliance on municipal water. The Westin Hotel says its desalination plant can yield about 400 000 litres of water per day.

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