First seawater in Perth’s 2nd desalination plant

The first intake of seawater into the second stage of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant (SSDP) in Western Australia on 22 January 2013 marked another major milestone in commissioning the Aus$ 450 million (US$ 470 million)expansion project.

State premier Colin Barnett and water minister Bill Marmion were on site to activate the flow of seawater into the facility, which will eventually be treated and delivered to the Integrated Water Supply Scheme as drinking water.

The state government made the decision in August 2011 to double the capacity of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant to 100 million m³ of drinking water a year. Another 45 million m³ is available from Perth’s first seawater desalination plant.

“In Western Australia’s changing climate, the supply and security of desalination has proved invaluable,” Marmion said. “Without desalination, Perth would have been subject to severe sprinkler bans, as occurred on the east coast, and almost total reliance on groundwater sources.”

Delivery of four large water pumps to the expansion project from Germany is expected in the coming days, which will significantly improve the long-term efficiency of the plant. The new pumps will be installed and then tested in March and the first drinking water will be delivered to the Integrated Water Supply Scheme shortly afterwards.