Beaufort West residents now rely on boreholes and recycled sewage water, after the Central Karoo town ran out of dam water.
Water expert Pierre Marais explains that effluent supplied by the municipality goes through various treatment processes before it is safe for usage.
It goes through quite a few steps, including water filtration, sedimentation, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, advanced oxidation, and chlorination, before it is sent to back to the municipal reservoir.— Pierre Marais, MD of Water & Wastewater Engineering
The recycling of sewage water, known as water reclamation, has been practiced in Beaufort West since 2011, he explains.
He advises that reclaimed water is suitable for consumption and can be used in conjunction with other sources.
The water quality coming out of the reclamation plant is 100% suitable for human consumption.— Pierre Marais, MD of Water & Wastewater Engineering
Marais says 20% of the town's water is from the recycled sewage water system, allowing residents to save on other water sources.
He says Beaufort West residents have accepted recycled water as there is no alternative.
The minute water stops coming out of the tap, it completely changes your perception and perspective on water.— Pierre Marais, MD of Water & Wastewater Engineering
Marais says officials from the City of Cape Town are consulting with his specialist company, Water & Wastewater Engineering, and have looked at Beaufort West as a case study.
Building infrastructure for water reclamation plants in Cape Town could hypothetically take 12 to 18 months, Marais explains.
Take a listen to him explain how recycled water works in Beaufort West: