Areas and Places

GrandWest reveals initiative for alternative water solutions

Cape Town’s GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World has announced the completion of a water purification plant which will future treat the property’s borehole water to portable standards. 

The initiative begin in February last year when the casino investigated feasible options to using potable water. The group commissioned a water treatment plant on site which includes four groundwater wells and a treatment plant with iron removal, sand infiltration, reverse osmosis and stripping capability to comfortable deliver up to 10 000 kilometers per month. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between GrandWest and the City of Cape Town to ensure that all water quality specifications and legal requirements were met.

The hospitality and the entertainment industries were hit hard by the effects of the unprecedented drought. Since implementing water-saving measures, GrandWest has used almost 50% less potable water.

To ensure business continuity, it was important to change our water supply mix and be less reliant on public resources. Thankfully our 2018 rainfall is higher than last year, however, the severity of the situation has taught us the importance of having access to alternative resources. Through our boreholes and water treatment plant we are joining the water-saving efforts of millions of Cape Town residents, the City and other businesses. By not drawing water from public reserves there is also substantially more for the residents of Cape Town. We are mindful, though, that underground water is not an unlimited resource and its management is critical. We intend to apply the same Level 6B restrictions to our borehole water as we did to municipally-supplied potable water” commented GrandWest General Manager Mervyn Naidoo.

Aside from being able to guarantee drinking water for customers, there is also a financial case to be made for the plant. The cost of potable water is currently R50 per kilolitre (on the Level 6 commercial tariff associated with Level 6 water restrictions) compared with R9.20 per kilolitre from the treatment facility. It will take approximately 28 months for GrandWest to realise a return on its investment.

Explaining the process, GrandWest’s Engineering Manager Johan Gelderblom said: “The plant consists of four boreholes and water drawn from these is passed through a set of pre-filters that removes most of the metals and suspended solids. The filters are aerated to assist with oxidisation of the water and from there, it is stored in a holding or buffer tank. The water is then taken through a set of reverse osmosis RO filters from where it is finally pumped into a 400 000 litre holding tank. As required, the water is later pumped to the main water reservoir by means of a UV generator unit which stops bacteria and further purifies the water.”

The borehole solution was built in phases. First we established the boreholes and tested the quality of the water. The appropriate purification process was then designed and, once City approval was obtained, the actual purification plant was built. The geohydrological measurements for the boreholes commenced in May 2017 and the plant produced its first purified water on 15 May 2018 … Regular tests are conducted to ensure that the water quality complies with drinking water standards as laid down by the City.”

GrandWest shows that there is a solid business case to be made for adapting operations to ensure that we future-proof our businesses and our city in light of the continuing impact that climate change is expected to have on us. As a City, we will continue to enhance our water demand and conservation programmes and to diversify our water supply going forward,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

For the construction, GrandWest partnered with a construction company Mikulu Construction and were assisted by Aquest Colsen.