“Desalination is a critical component. It is probably more important than nuclear. Everyone is talking about nuclear but, frankly, that is a secondary issue,” Turton told the yearly conference of the Southern African Asset Management Association, Saama.

He argued that desalination technologies should be used in cities like Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Richards Bay, also suggesting that this could cascade into recycling sewage, which he considers a game changer.

“If we can recycle our sewage we can recover five-billion litres of water a day. If you take 100 ℓ of sewage effluent that each South African produces, and multiply that by 50-million people, that’s the volume of water that we can recover.”

Turton told Engineering News Online on the sidelines of the conference that he could not see a future for South Africa that held “stable, full economic growth, social cohesion and stability” unless significant policy reforms were implemented right down to the provincial and local authority level.