Eyre Peninsula's new seawater desalination plant

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Desalination plant

We are working together with the Eyre Peninsula community as we progress plans for supplementing the Uley South groundwater supply with seawater desalination to ensure water security for the region into the future.

While the option to build a seawater desalination plant at Sleaford Bay, south-west of Port Lincoln is still in consideration, it was identified that the geological conditions at Sleaford Bay would prove challenging for the construction of some of the infrastructure, requiring additional project costs.

We are now exploring if other suitable locations in the region would reduce construction costs, with any new site identified to undergo the same detailed assessment applied to the initial location.

Current status

We are considering locating the plant closer to Port Lincoln to reduce some technical and environmental challenges, to achieve a better customer outcome in providing water security for lower Eyre.

We are working with Port Lincoln businesses and industry representatives, landholders, local Aboriginal communities and councils, their input will help inform potential alternative sites. This widespread engagement will help ensure all interests are being taken into consideration and local knowledge is used to add value to the project. Once a preferred location has been identified, this will be presented to the wider community for feedback.

We are taking all steps, including undertaking studies and working with PIRSA/SARDI, to ensure we preserve and maintain the current marine environment.

Drinking water supplies for the Eyre Peninsula community remain secure, with current modelling showing groundwater resources and River Murray will continue to meet demand until a desalination plant is built.

Next steps

To inform our planning we will complete further investigations that will be used as part of the approval process including:

  • detailed terrestrial, marine, environment and heritage assessments
  • concept design
  • technical construction and operation plans
  • community engagement.

Keep an eye on this page for future opportunities to get involved.

We are working together with the Eyre Peninsula community as we progress plans for supplementing the Uley South groundwater supply with seawater desalination to ensure water security for the region into the future.

While the option to build a seawater desalination plant at Sleaford Bay, south-west of Port Lincoln is still in consideration, it was identified that the geological conditions at Sleaford Bay would prove challenging for the construction of some of the infrastructure, requiring additional project costs.

We are now exploring if other suitable locations in the region would reduce construction costs, with any new site identified to undergo the same detailed assessment applied to the initial location.

Current status

We are considering locating the plant closer to Port Lincoln to reduce some technical and environmental challenges, to achieve a better customer outcome in providing water security for lower Eyre.

We are working with Port Lincoln businesses and industry representatives, landholders, local Aboriginal communities and councils, their input will help inform potential alternative sites. This widespread engagement will help ensure all interests are being taken into consideration and local knowledge is used to add value to the project. Once a preferred location has been identified, this will be presented to the wider community for feedback.

We are taking all steps, including undertaking studies and working with PIRSA/SARDI, to ensure we preserve and maintain the current marine environment.

Drinking water supplies for the Eyre Peninsula community remain secure, with current modelling showing groundwater resources and River Murray will continue to meet demand until a desalination plant is built.

Next steps

To inform our planning we will complete further investigations that will be used as part of the approval process including:

  • detailed terrestrial, marine, environment and heritage assessments
  • concept design
  • technical construction and operation plans
  • community engagement.

Keep an eye on this page for future opportunities to get involved.

  • Talking desalination on the Eyre Peninsula

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    John Hyde from Port Lincoln with Chloe Ringwood from our Stakeholder Engagement team

    In November 2018 about 100 people from across the Eyre Peninsula came to our open days to talk with us about their water future.

    Over five days people in Port Lincoln, Cowell, Wudinna and Ceduna dropped in to chat with us about the proposed desalination plant at Sleaford Bay. The plant would supplement existing ground water supply and ensure ongoing supply of safe, clean drinking water across the Eyre Peninsula.

    One of the most commonly discussed topics at these sessions was ensuring the ongoing health of the local marine environment. With seawater desalination plants at Lonsdale in Adelaide and Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island we have demonstrated experienced in environmental management. You can read about how we operate desalination plants in South Australia on our website.

    We also talked with people about sustainable design principles that ensure intake and outfall from seawater desalination plants minimise the impact on marine life.

    Other topics discussed included:

    • design and noise levels, particularly for people who live in and visit Sleaford
    • location of the plant in Sleaford – set back from the coastline
    • size of the plant – around 5 per cent of the capacity of the Adelaide Desalination Plant
    • ongoing operation of the plant and supply of water to supplement existing groundwater sources
    • the impact on customer bills – all our customers, including those on Eyre Peninsula, benefit from state-wide pricing.

    Engagement with the Sleaford, Tulka and Port Lincoln local community began in August 2018 and will continue, ensuring everyone’s interests and views are heard.

    You can read about our long-term planning for Eyre Peninsula’s water supply on our website, including how the proposed desalination plant would provide a reliable supply of safe drinking water into the future.

    Above: John Hyde from Port Lincoln with Chloe Ringwood from our Stakeholder Engagement team.