Three possible sites for desal future

18 September 2007 | 05:35 Code : 15293 Geoscience events
THE State Government has identified three possible sites for a desalination....

  THE State Government has identified three possible sites for a desalination plant to supply 25 per cent of Adelaide's fresh water.As revealed in The Advertiser on Saturday, a desalination plant will be built to help solve Adelaide's water crisis.  Premier Mike Rann yesterday told State Parliament a desalination plant for Adelaide and increasing the capacity of the Mt Bold Reservoir was "the Government's preference for our long-term water security". Mr Rann said the cost of both projects, which had been investigated by the Government's Desalination Working Group during the past six months, would be more than $2.5 billion. Federal Government funding to help pay for the projects will be sought. The 50GL desalination plant would cost more than $1.4 billion, with Mr Rann warning the high cost of stainless steel and growing demand for desalination infrastructure means "the cost of building a desalination plant quickly would be at a premium". The plant will be located at either Pelican Point, near Port Stanvac, or further south along the coast, and take up to five years to build. "We would plan to build on a site that allowed it to double in size if necessary in future years," Mr Rann said. One of the biggest costs associated with the plant is expected to be a pipeline laid under the seabed into the Gulf St Vincent to carry the plant's waste brine. "I am told such a pipeline could be many kilometres in length," Mr Rann said. "That engineering work alone would be an enormous and expensive undertaking." New pipelines also will be needed between major northern and southern metropolitan water system facilities, so fresh water from the plant can connect directly with mains water and also flow into filtered water storage, and be fed from one system to another. Mr Rann warned the desalination plant will have "an ongoing impact on the cost of water" because the plant needs to operate around the clock. "Water pricing will need to reflect this significant investment in infrastructure," he said. The Mt Bold proposal is estimated to cost more than $850 million. Mr Rann said given water run-off in the Mt Lofty Ranges was a significant source of Adelaide's water supply, increasing water storage capacity in the Hills from one year to two "makes sense".

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