Gold Coast desalination plant placed offline

Just two months after its official handover, the 125,000m³/d Gold Coast desalination plant in Queensland, Australia, is to be placed on "stand-by" mode, according to a state government announcement on 5 December 2010.

A joint statement by Andrew Fraser, treasurer and minister for employment and economic development, and Stephen Robertson, minister for natural resources, mines and energy and minister for trade, also said that the region's two bulk water authorities - Seqwater and WaterSecure - will be merged into "a more streamlined, cost-efficient operation" from 1 July 2011.

Placing the desalination plant at Tugun into standby would save Aus$ 10 million (US$ 9.9 million) per year, said the statement. Work on winding operations back to standby mode would begin later this month.

The plant can come on line again within 72 hours if needed to maintain water supply or quality across the entire South East Queensland grid. It will return to fulltime operation if the region's dam capacity drops to 60%.

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