Desalination plant at Billy Lights Point

Share Desalination plant at Billy Lights Point on Facebook Share Desalination plant at Billy Lights Point on Twitter Share Desalination plant at Billy Lights Point on Linkedin Email Desalination plant at Billy Lights Point link

The Eyre Peninsula urgently needs a desalination plant.

A desalination plant at Billy Lights Point is the quickest solution to ensuring water security for the Eyre Peninsula. Marine science research undertaken to date indicates that with the right engineering design, a desalination plant at Billy Lights Point can be built with minimal impact on the marine and coastal environments.






The Eyre Peninsula urgently needs a desalination plant.

A desalination plant at Billy Lights Point is the quickest solution to ensuring water security for the Eyre Peninsula. Marine science research undertaken to date indicates that with the right engineering design, a desalination plant at Billy Lights Point can be built with minimal impact on the marine and coastal environments.






  • Development application lodged - June 2024

    Share Development application lodged - June 2024 on Facebook Share Development application lodged - June 2024 on Twitter Share Development application lodged - June 2024 on Linkedin Email Development application lodged - June 2024 link

    Our Development Application (DA) for the Eyre Peninsula desalination project has been officially lodged with the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP).

    This marks a significant milestone towards delivering a climate-independent source of drinking water to the Eyre Peninsula by mid-2026.

    Our submission is the result of extensive technical detailed studies and valuable feedback from stakeholders resulting in key design changes to minimise environmental impacts. The DA includes detailed information on the proposed construction design, location of the intake and outfall pipelines, as well as findings of technical studies.

    Moving forward, our DA will undergo thorough evaluation by various government agencies and regulators to ensure comprehensive scrutiny of all the aspects of the project.

    Public consultation is being led independently by SCAP with the plans available online via their webpage and hard copies available at various locations:

    • State Planning Commission: Level 9, 83 Pirie Street, Adelaide
    • City of Port Lincoln: L1, Civic Centre, Tasman Tce.
    • District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula: 32 Railway Tce, Cummins
    • The SA Water Project Information Centre: 6/50 Liverpool Street Port Lincoln

    Members of the community are invited to make submissions in writing to the State Planning Commission before Thursday 25 July 2024, outlining any specific matters the planning authority should consider in the assessment of the proposal.

  • Community information session - 8 May 2024

    Share Community information session - 8 May 2024 on Facebook Share Community information session - 8 May 2024 on Twitter Share Community information session - 8 May 2024 on Linkedin Email Community information session - 8 May 2024 link

    Thank you to everyone who gave up their Wednesday evening to share their views and ask questions as part of an important discussion about water supply and security for the Eyre Peninsula.

  • Additional actions to protect long-term water security for Eyre Peninsula - April 2024

    Share Additional actions to protect long-term water security for Eyre Peninsula - April 2024 on Facebook Share Additional actions to protect long-term water security for Eyre Peninsula - April 2024 on Twitter Share Additional actions to protect long-term water security for Eyre Peninsula - April 2024 on Linkedin Email Additional actions to protect long-term water security for Eyre Peninsula - April 2024 link

    The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board has indicated there will be a significant reduction in the licensed volume of water we can source from Uley South Basin once amendments to the Water Allocation Plan for the Southern Basins take affect from 1 July 2026 – see the Board’s media release. Uley South currently supplies the majority of water to the Eyre Peninsula.

    In response to this advice, we are undertaking an urgent review of our broader water security response plan for the region, detailing what actions may need to be taken if there are changes to our ability to supply water from local groundwater sources or if there are significant delays to the delivery timeframe of our proposed desalination plant. These actions aim to maintain a level of water supply to the region while also protecting vital groundwater sources until a desalination plant is operating.

    This plan will include working with the local community and stakeholders on a water efficiency program, as well as serious consideration to introducing staged water restrictions for primary production, industrial, businesses and residential customers.

    This work will in happen in parallel with our continued plans to construct a desalination plant at Billy Lights Point, which we are working towards being operational by mid-2026. A climate-independent desalination plant remains critical to augment supply from an under stress Uley South Basin and deliver a long-term drinking water solution.

    The Board’s review is prompted by findings from investigations and modelling by the Department for Environment and Water, which show if water extraction from Uley South continues at current rates, there is an increasing risk of further environmental decline and irreversible damage from saltwater intrusion.

    We expect to complete a review of our water security response plan with the Eyre Peninsula community in coming weeks.

  • Geotechnical investigations - April 2024

    Share Geotechnical investigations - April 2024 on Facebook Share Geotechnical investigations - April 2024 on Twitter Share Geotechnical investigations - April 2024 on Linkedin Email Geotechnical investigations - April 2024 link

    From late April through to May 2024, geotechnical activities will be undertaken using a barge and small drill rig to collect soil and rock samples from the ocean floor.

    This will help us better understand the site’s geology to determine a potential construction method for the marine infrastructure which will connect to the proposed desalination project.

    The geotechnical investigations will involve:

    • Establishing a small jack-up barge in the east of Billy Lights Point.

    • Drilling small diameter holes around 20-30 metres deep to extract samples for scientific analysis.

    • Backfilling boreholes on completion of work.

    Read the project update to find out more about these geotechnical investigations.

  • Economic Opportunities Forum - March 2024

    Share Economic Opportunities Forum - March 2024 on Facebook Share Economic Opportunities Forum - March 2024 on Twitter Share Economic Opportunities Forum - March 2024 on Linkedin Email Economic Opportunities Forum - March 2024 link

    Thanks to everyone who came along to our forum in Port Lincoln this week, to learn about the range of employment and training opportunities available through our proposed Eyre Peninsula desalination project.

    Close to 100 business owners and job seekers attended, where they heard from several speakers including our project director and contract partner ACCIONA.

    With up to 230 jobs per year of construction to be created, along with new supply chain opportunities, it was fantastic to speak with local people about how they can work with us on this important water security project.

    If you couldn’t make it to the forum but would still like to receive updates on related job opportunities, register your interest via the Industry Capability Network (ICN gateway) webpage.

  • Design changes informed by key stakeholders - February 2024

    Share Design changes informed by key stakeholders - February 2024 on Facebook Share Design changes informed by key stakeholders - February 2024 on Twitter Share Design changes informed by key stakeholders - February 2024 on Linkedin Email Design changes informed by key stakeholders - February 2024 link

    We are continuing to mature the design for our proposed desalination plant at Billy Lights Point, with key changes made in response to feedback gathered through early engagement and further scientific analysis, reinforcing our commitment to minimising any impacts to the coastal and marine environment.

    These changes include using a trenchless construction method for the installation of the plant’s intake and outfall pipes, and the placement of these pipes in a deeper area off the coast of Billy Lights Point within a higher flushing zone.

    We have listened to and responded to feedback from the Project Reference Group and other key community groups, our regulators and various other government agencies, which highlighted the importance of minimising disturbance to the Billy Lights Point coastline and avoiding the shallow waters of Proper Bay.

    We will need to conduct additional geotechnical studies to refine the scope of the trenchless construction method, and from March 2024, we will use a barge and small drill rig off the coast of our existing nearby wastewater treatment plant to collect soil and rock samples from the ocean floor.

    This will enable a better understanding the site’s geology, to determine the exact type of construction method, which could include directional drilling or tunnelling.

    The geotechnical work is expected to take several weeks to complete, and the results will help inform a detailed concept design which will be incorporated into our Development Application for the project.

    To support this work, we will also be undertaking further hydrodynamic modelling within the preferred marine zone and a re-run of the particle tracking model, which will add to existing knowledge of mussel spat movement and narrow down the exact alignment and location of the intake and outfall pipes.

    We are planning to place the pipes in a zone to the east of Billy Lights Point, up to 1.5 kilometres offshore and more than 2.5 kilometres from existing mussel leases. This location is near a commercial shipping corridor which extends from the marina to Cape Donnington and is within water around 10 to 15 metres deep.

    The outfall for our Port Lincoln Wastewater Treatment Plant sits outside of this zone further to the south, and our extensive monitoring to date has demonstrated no negative impact to the local marine environment from this marine infrastructure.

  • Contractor announced - November 2023

    Share Contractor announced - November 2023 on Facebook Share Contractor announced - November 2023 on Twitter Share Contractor announced - November 2023 on Linkedin Email Contractor announced - November 2023 link

    Acciona has been awarded the contract for the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) phase of the Eyre Peninsula desalination project. Acciona will be undertaking further investigations at the proposed desalination plant location of Billy Lights Point over the coming months to support SA Water in developing the detailed design of land and marine infrastructure as part of the project.

  • Procurement update - September 2023

    Share Procurement update - September 2023 on Facebook Share Procurement update - September 2023 on Twitter Share Procurement update - September 2023 on Linkedin Email Procurement update - September 2023 link

    An Expression of Interest for early contractor involvement (ECI) in the design and constructability of the desalination plant and marine systems was released to market earlier this year. Shortlisted tenderers have submitted detailed responses as part of a Request for Tender which was released in June. The Project Team is currently reviewing and assessing the tender submissions, with the contract to be awarded in the coming months.

    The ECI contractor will support SA Water to further develop the concept design of the plant and marine infrastructure. Subject to final approvals, the successful contractor will be required to prioritise local workforce engagement, with significant opportunities for local industry to be involved in the construction phase of the project.

    Further updates will be provided when the ECI contractor is appointed and as procurement for the project progresses.

  • Project update - August 2023

    Share Project update - August 2023 on Facebook Share Project update - August 2023 on Twitter Share Project update - August 2023 on Linkedin Email Project update - August 2023 link

    As we proceed with work to deliver a desalination plant at Billy Lights Point, ensuring long-term water security for the Eyre Peninsula, we will provide regular project updates through the detailed design, development application preparation, approvals, and construction processes.

    Read the project update.

  • Project information

    Share Project information on Facebook Share Project information on Twitter Share Project information on Linkedin Email Project information link

    Billy Lights Point is our preferred location

    Our proposed site at Billy Lights Point is:

    • close to existing water and electricity networks, requiring a short, 4 km powerline route and a 7.4 km transfer main to North Side Hill storage tanks
    • formerly industrial and not located near residential properties, which will help to minimise visual and environmental impact on the landscape
    • relatively sheltered with a mostly flat landscape, helping to reduce construction risks and challenges, delivering the best value option for our customers.


    A number of alternative locations have been assessed and investigated for the Eyre Peninsula desalination plant, however, these presented challenges including:

    • nationally and state protected flora and fauna
    • internationally and nationally protected species such as migratory whales
    • location within or adjacent to a State Marine Park
    • unique geology
    • high cliffs and exposed coastline requiring significant engineering design and complex construction processes, resulting in an additional $150 million cost impost on customers.


    Billy Lights Point is our preferred location because it offers the quickest solution to ensuring long-term water security for the region, with the least impact on future water costs for customers. Marine science research undertaken to date indicates that with the right engineering design, a desalination plant at Billy Lights Point can be built with minimal impact on the marine and coastal environments.

    Concept design for Eyre Peninsula desalination plant. Final design to be confirmed.




    First water expected mid-2026

    By mid-2026, a desalination plant at Billy Lights Point would produce 0.016 gigalitres or 16 megalitres of fresh, clean drinking water per day – with the capacity to be expanded to around 0.024 gigalitres or 24 megalitres per day.

    Further scientific investigations and assessments will inform the detailed design of the plant, including the location of the intake (where the plant draws in seawater) and outfall (where the plant disperses saline concentrate from the desalination process) pipes.

    The data from these investigations and assessments, along with community input, will inform our development application for the project, which will be lodged with the State Planning Commission. Our application will be assessed by multiple agencies and regulators through a comprehensive approval process, which also provides for further community consultation.



    How desalination works

    1. Pre-treatment - seawater is pumped through intake screens and filters to remove particles, before passing through an ultrafiltration membrane.
    2. Reverse osmosis - semi-permeable membranes allow water molecules to pass through but block larger salt molecules, resulting in the removal of impurities and salt in the water.
    3. Post-treatment - the desalinated water is disinfected and re-mineralised to increase alkalinity to reduce the potential for corrosion in the network and customers’ plumbing. Treated water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, ensuring it is safe to drink.
    4. Storage - the clean drinking water is then stored and supplied to homes and businesses.
    5. Outfall - the remaining concentrated seawater is returned to the ocean through the outfall pipe and diffusers to ensure it reaches the natural salinity levels of the environment.


    After desalination, clean, fresh water from the desalination plant would be pumped to the North Side Hill storage tanks near Port Lincoln. The water would then be distributed through our network to ensure it reaches regional and remote communities across the Eyre Peninsula, for use in homes, schools, hospitals, businesses, and agriculture.


Page last updated: 27 Jun 2024, 01:00 PM