Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A second seawater desal plant for WA

The West Australian Government today announced plans to build a second seawater desalination plant, -this time 155 kilometres south of Perth at an estimated cost of $1 billion. The following article from The Australian has the currently available details.

WA to build $1bn desalination plant

Paige Taylor & Amanda O'Brien
The Australian
May 15, 2007

WESTERN Australia's next major water source will be a second desalination plant costing almost $1 billion.

Premier Alan Carpenter cited environmental concerns and climate change today when he announced that he had shelved the Water Corporation's plans to tap the massive Yarragadee aquifer in the state's southwest.

Instead, Mr Carpenter said a $955 desalination plant will be built at Binningup 155km south of Perth and would be powered by renewable energy, possibly geothermal energy.

It would provide 45 gigalitres of water a year, the same as the present desalination plant opened this year at Cockburn Sound, Kwinana, 41km south of Perth.

The state's water supply presently includes 13 per cent recycled water and 17 per cent desalinated water. The second plant, to be completed within four years, would bring the amount of the state's water supply from desalinated water to one third.

Premier Alan Carpenter said the desalination plant was a more expensive option that tapping the aquifer, which was estimated to cost about $700 million, but it was climate independent.

“We can no longer rely on traditional, seasonal climate patterns and rainfall,' he said.

“Seawater desalination is clearly the best long-term feasible and practical option for our State, along with more recycling initiatives.”

The Yarragadee option has been controversial and State opposition leader Paul Omodei was delighted at the decision to take it off the agenda.

He cautiously welcomed news of the second desalination plant.

“Any decision that will stop the Government taking water from the southern Yarragadee is a good decision and we will take some credit for that, he said.

The Liberal Party and the community of the south west have long been arguing that the southern Yarragadee should be left for the people of the South West.

Mr Omodei said the environmental impacts of the second desalination plant would be examined closely.

He said more attention must also be paid to recycling and said the controversial Kimberley water pipeline to bring water from the north of the state also remained an option in the longer term.

The director of the WA Conservation Council, Chris Tallentine, also welcomed the decision but warned the desalination plant would be closely scrutinised. He said conservationists across the state had worked hard to stop the Yarragadee project which posed very real risks to the environment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And for my next trick I will turn electricity into water!
Or should that be Violia?

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