Sydney desalination plant may not restart for 3 years

Sydney's 250,000 m³/d desalination plant is to be switched off on 1 July 2012 and may not be restarted for three years.

Sydney Desalination Plant

Sydney Desalination Plant

The finance minister of the Australian state of New South Wales, Greg Pearce, confirming the mothballing, rejected suggestions that the Aus$ 2 billion (US$ 2 billion) plant was a waste of money.

"At the moment of course the dams are full, so it won't go back on until they drop below 70%, and then the desalination plant operates until they're up to 80% again," Pearce told Australian Broadcasting Corporation on 26 June 2012.

"The fact that the desal plant will be turned off from the first of July will save Sydney Water customers Aus$ 50 million (US$ 50.15 million) a year, but we'll still have the security if or when we eventually need to turn the desalination plant back on again," said Pearce.

He said it could be around three years before the facility operated again.

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