Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront to acquire a new desalination plant for water needs

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Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is preparing to acquire a new desalination plant to ensure a supply of fresh water to the tourist hotspot during any future crisis affecting South Africa’s second largest city.

Growthpoint Properties, the country’s largest listed real estate company, has received approval to install 3.3 megalitres and construction will begin in the first quarter of next year, according to a statement released Thursday. The project is expected to be completed by 2024, the Johannesburg-based company said.

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The plan comes four years after a long drought forced authorities to impose strict measures on water use to avoid turning off taps. Water scarcity is a problem across South Africa, caused both by climate change and poor infrastructure management by local governments.

Small-scale desalination plants have been introduced in Cape Town in an attempt to avoid a real emergency in 2018, although these are intended for short-term use.

Growthpoint said tourists are finally starting to return to the V&A after long lockdowns and travel bans linked to the coronavirus crisis. About 1.6 million people visited the quaint retail and food court in October, 28% more than the month before and nearly three-quarters of pre-pandemic levels.

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That could get even better with the first cruise ship of the season due to dock at the end of the month, state-owned port group Transnet said in a separate statement. Cape Town’s economy relies heavily on vacationers, drawn to its iconic Table Mountain, pristine beaches and vineyards.

The V&A is also a popular location for businesses, and Growthpoint is building the new headquarters of lender Investec in Cape Town in the region.

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The real estate company is still grappling with the impact of the pandemic on traditional office space, with the vacancy rate at the Sandton hub in Johannesburg reaching 21% in the three months through September.


Read: Cape Town tries to bring more skilled workers to semi-gratification

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