On 28 and 29 May 2008 the WRC held Open Days at Struisbaai in the Western Cape to demonstrate a new robust small water treatment system. The first day was for the benefit of the local community and the second day coincided with an Institute for Municipal Engineers gathering on 30 May. South Africa, being a water-stressed country, needs to find innovative ways of managing water judiciously. The Water Research Commission (WRC) has been involved in research relating to membrane technology over the past 40 years.
To date, membranes are imported and this prompted the WRC to explore the
development of cost-effective, locally produced ultra-filtration membranes and filtration systems for use in water treatment and industrial water management.
The ultra-filtration system that was demonstrated is an innovative system
(covered by four patents) which took about eight years to develop and is
characterised by being operator free and operator friendly. These properties will make the system suitable for rural water supply. The system was put to the test and is currently running at Struisbaai, where it is
used as a pre-treatment system for seawater desalination.