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Desalination at the Tip of Africa 

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.

Dr Gerhard Offringa outlines WRC projects relating to membrane
Dr Jo Burgess welcomed guests
Guests were officially welcomed by both the WRC as well as a representative of the Mayor of the Cape Agulhas local municipality, Mr Norwood Kotze. Mr Tony Brutus, representing Mr Rashid Khan from DWAF (Cape Town), spoke about the protection of surface water resources in the Western Cape. Newly-appointed Research Manager, Dr Jo Burgess, and retired senior Research Manager, Dr Gerhard Offringa, presented the WRC perspective.
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