Australia’s Water Corporation weighs the options for climate-independent water

Australia’s Water Corporation is looking at "a range of options" for its next climate-independent source of water for western Australia, as it reaches the halfway mark of a 10-year strategy to ensure a climate-independent water supply.

Sue Murphy, chief executive of Water Corporation said that while “no decision has been made” about the next major water project, plans are in place to “expand our desalination plants, to trial a groundwater replenishment scheme, and progressively to shift our groundwater abstraction to the deeper aquifers, while working with the community to reduce water use.”

The first stage of groundwater scheme, which has the capacity to recharge up to 14 billion litres of drinking water a year (43,836 m3/d), will be complete by December 2016. It uses advanced wastewater treatment to produce recycled water that is recharged into an aquifer for later use as drinking water. 

“Perth and the south west of western Australia are among the areas on the planet that have been hardest hit by the drying climate,” said Murphy. “We are in the process of finalising planning for the next climate-independent source of water so that we can progress the regulatory and environmental approvals.”

Australia’s Water Minister, Mia Davies, quoted by ABC Online, said that the groundwater scheme was “probably” the next major climate-independent source of water for the region. 

Western Australia’s two desalination plants in Kwinana and Binningup supply about half of the drinking water needs of Perth, or 145 billion litres a year (397,000 m3/d), independent of rainfall.

“The two desalination plants have met all of our expectations as a safe, reliable and environmentally sustainable water source in our drying climate. They will continue to play a major role into the future by consistently supplying water to our customers,” said Murphy.