Budget confirms Adelaide desalination plant upgrade

Confirmation that the capacity of the Adelaide seawater desalination plant would be doubled to 274,000 m³/d came in the Australian federal government’s budget statement issued on 12 May 2009.

The South Australia state government also announced that it would match the federal government funding for the upgrade of Aus$ 228 million (US$ 170 million) towards the reverse-osmosis plant, which will cost about Aus$ 1,800 million (US$ 1,350 million). Minister for water security Karlene Maywald said the first water from the desalination plant is still expected in December 2010, and it will be up to full first-stage capacity (137,000 m³/d) by mid-2011.

The increase to 274,000 m³/d full production will be completed by the end of 2012, according to Mike Rann, South Australia premier. The inlet and outfall pipes for the plant, and the connecting pipeline into the distribution network, were already being built with capacity for a full size plant.

“The plant will now provide Adelaide with up to half of its annual water use and will be powered using sustainable energy sources,” he stated. “Increasing the desalination plant’s capacity means that during dry times, when the River Murray is under most stress, we will be able to source the majority of our drinking water from the sea.”

“Desalination is one of the State Government’s four ways to water certainty, which also includes stormwater harvesting and recycling water, more efficient water use and better management of our catchments,” said Maywald.