South Australia adopts state-wide desalination policy

A state-wide desalination policy to guide future proposals and a target to recycle up to 75 million m³ of stormwater are among 90 strategies outlined by the government of South Australia (SA) in a comprehensive plan to guarantee the state’s water security to 2050 and beyond.

The plan, titled Water for Good was launched on 29 June 2009 by premier Mike Rann and minister for water security Karlene Maywald in Adelaide before 200 industry, government and community representatives.

Premier Rann said, “This plan outlines new and effective ways to protect and supplement our water supplies both now and for the longer term.

“Our first step to this goal has been Adelaide’s expanded 100 GL desalination plant, currently under construction at Port Stanvac. The Aus$ 1.83 billion plant will provide up to half of Adelaide’s drinking water and does not rely on rainfall, giving us the insurance we need against future climate variability.”

Recommendations listed in Water for Good include investigation of a desalination plant for the Eyre peninsula and for regional townships where water quality has been identified as an issue.

Minister Maywald said that the Stormwater Management Authority had appointed independent consultants during development of the plan to determine where further stormwater capture and reuse could be feasibly established.

“These investigations found in the metropolitan area it is technically feasible to capture 60 billion litres of stormwater. The plan also targets up to 15 billion litres in regional SA in the longer term,” said the minister.

“With projects currently in operation, under construction or being scoped, we will harvest about 20 billion litres by 2013. The plan estimates an extra 42 billion litres can be captured for up to Aus$ 700 million in the long term.”