Another desalination plant approved for Western Australia

Western Australia’s state cabinet endorsed a proposal on 25 October 2010 to build a new seawater desalination plant to be commissioned in three years time.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, WA premier Colin Barnett said the new seawater desalination plant and associated infrastructure for West Pilbara would cost approximately Aus$ 370 million (US$ 367 million). The new supply is to support residential and small commercial growth in Karratha, Dampier, Roebourne, Wickham and Port Samson, the premier said.

State water minister Dr Graham Jacobs said the further 6 million m³/year of drinking water would be needed for the West Pilbara supply scheme by 2015. The state government recently called for expressions of interest from parties interested in supplying that quantity of water for the medium-term future.

Dr Jacobs said the Water Corporation, which already has one large seawater reverse- osmosis plant operating and another under construction, would manage the development of the new desalination project.

“The government has been working for some time on the development of a new desalination plant as one of the options and is sufficiently advanced in planning to be confident of commissioning in the first quarter of 2013,” he said.

“The corporation also has funding in its current budget allocation for works that will support population growth in the intervening period,” said Dr Jacobs, “and has just begun an Aus$ 11 million (US$ 10.9 million) water efficiency program across all towns in Pilbara and Onslow with a target of saving at least 10% of total water use in the area annually.”