Kangaroo Island's new seawater desalination plant

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The Australian and South Australian Governments committed $47.8 million to build a new desalination plant on Kangaroo Island to provide an additional climate independent drinking water supply, boost economic activity, and improve bushfire resilience.

Water produced from the new plant will supplement the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River Reservoir, supplying the Island through a connected drinking water network.

A new pipeline will have capacity to service residents in Baudin Beach, Island Beach, Sapphiretown and American River. Our engagement with these communities will explore opportunities and interest in connecting to this new drinking water supply with consultation informing where any new drinking water networks are laid.

The new desalination plant will produce as much as 80% of the Island’s current water requirements. This will allow for growth and an expected increase in demand.

Our experience with desalination plants

We operate nine desalination plants across South Australia including seawater desalination plants at Lonsdale in Adelaide and the existing plant at Penneshaw.

Our desalination plants improve security of drinking water supplies for our customers. They give us the ability to supply water regardless of climate impacts and ensure drinking water is still available even in times of drought.

How desalination plants work

Our desalination plants use a technology called reverse osmosis. The process removes up to 99 per cent of the impurities and salt in the water. Once the impurities - mainly salt - are removed, the water is treated to ensure it is safe to drink.

Current status

Work continues to seek all environmental and planning, approvals and design development of the pipeline and the desalination plant are progressing.

The pipeline connecting the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River-Kingscote network will be constructed along Hog Bay Road and Arronmore Road.

The new desalination facility will be built in the vicinity of the existing plant at Penneshaw. Work is being undertaken to identify a preferred location and details regarding this will be shared as soon as possible.

Drop-in sessions

Over the duration of the project, we will facilitate a number of discussions that will provide you with project updates, information regarding connection opportunities for the communities of American River, Baudin Beach, Sapphiretown and Island Beach as well as providing information regarding connections along the pipeline connecting the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River-Kingscote network.

Next steps

Construction is likely to be undertaken in stages. The first stage will see the construction of approximately 50 kilometres of pipeline connecting Penneshaw with the existing Middle-River-Kingscote network with works anticipated to start in mid-2021.

The second stage will see construction of the desalination plant and associated marine works in early 2022 with reticulation mains for the communities of American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown constructed in mid-2022.

With our target of first water for the end of 2022, this includes providing water to new connections in these four communities.

Landowners and local communities along the pipeline route will be invited to discuss connections to this new supply of drinking water. We will engage with these communities on opportunities to connect to this new, safe, clean affordable drinking water network.


The Australian and South Australian Governments committed $47.8 million to build a new desalination plant on Kangaroo Island to provide an additional climate independent drinking water supply, boost economic activity, and improve bushfire resilience.

Water produced from the new plant will supplement the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River Reservoir, supplying the Island through a connected drinking water network.

A new pipeline will have capacity to service residents in Baudin Beach, Island Beach, Sapphiretown and American River. Our engagement with these communities will explore opportunities and interest in connecting to this new drinking water supply with consultation informing where any new drinking water networks are laid.

The new desalination plant will produce as much as 80% of the Island’s current water requirements. This will allow for growth and an expected increase in demand.

Our experience with desalination plants

We operate nine desalination plants across South Australia including seawater desalination plants at Lonsdale in Adelaide and the existing plant at Penneshaw.

Our desalination plants improve security of drinking water supplies for our customers. They give us the ability to supply water regardless of climate impacts and ensure drinking water is still available even in times of drought.

How desalination plants work

Our desalination plants use a technology called reverse osmosis. The process removes up to 99 per cent of the impurities and salt in the water. Once the impurities - mainly salt - are removed, the water is treated to ensure it is safe to drink.

Current status

Work continues to seek all environmental and planning, approvals and design development of the pipeline and the desalination plant are progressing.

The pipeline connecting the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River-Kingscote network will be constructed along Hog Bay Road and Arronmore Road.

The new desalination facility will be built in the vicinity of the existing plant at Penneshaw. Work is being undertaken to identify a preferred location and details regarding this will be shared as soon as possible.

Drop-in sessions

Over the duration of the project, we will facilitate a number of discussions that will provide you with project updates, information regarding connection opportunities for the communities of American River, Baudin Beach, Sapphiretown and Island Beach as well as providing information regarding connections along the pipeline connecting the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River-Kingscote network.

Next steps

Construction is likely to be undertaken in stages. The first stage will see the construction of approximately 50 kilometres of pipeline connecting Penneshaw with the existing Middle-River-Kingscote network with works anticipated to start in mid-2021.

The second stage will see construction of the desalination plant and associated marine works in early 2022 with reticulation mains for the communities of American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown constructed in mid-2022.

With our target of first water for the end of 2022, this includes providing water to new connections in these four communities.

Landowners and local communities along the pipeline route will be invited to discuss connections to this new supply of drinking water. We will engage with these communities on opportunities to connect to this new, safe, clean affordable drinking water network.


Ask the project team a question

We are working together with the Kangaroo Island community as we start planning to construct a new 2 megalitre per day seawater desalination plant to be built in the vicinity of the existing plant at Penneshaw.  The new desalination plant will supplement the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River Reservoir, supplying Kangaroo Island through a connected pipeline network.

Local community members are invited to join to ask us questions and tell us what's most important to them

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  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Just to clarify, I understand the pipeline will be underground, but will it be layed under the road itself or along side of the road? Cheers

    Kiholidays asked 5 months ago

    Hi KIholidays

    Thanks for the follow up question. 

    Optimally the pipeline would be laid in the road verge, however where laying in the road verge has any impact upon the native vegetation in the area, the pipeline will be laid within the road itself.

    We are looking to minimise our impact on the local native vegetation and have undertaken assessments along the route. These assessments will be fed into the design process that will then identify where exactly, across the entire route, where the pipe needs to be laid.

    Cheers

    Aaron - SA Water

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    Hi, Will the pipeline be layed under the road or along side?

    Kiholidays asked 5 months ago

    Hi Kiholidays

    The pipe that connects the new desalination plant in Penneshaw to the Middle River-Kingscote network will be an underground pipeline, just as the reticulation networks in Baudin Beach, Island Beach, Sapphiretown and American River will be.

    Kind regards

    Aaron - SA Water

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    Hi there, I note that the project includes a pipeline connecting the Penneshaw supply with the Kingscote-Middle River supply. While Baudin Beach, Island Beach, Sapphiretown and American River are named, the route of the pipeline suggests it will pass Nepean Bay - has any thought been given about whether the pipeline will be able to supply the community at Nepean Bay in the future?

    Daniel Garland asked 8 months ago

    Hi Daniel.

    Thanks for your question. At this stage, the scope of the project is to look to provide new connections to property owners in Baudin Beach, Island Beach, Sapphiretown and American River. Engagement with these communities will look to explore opportunities and interest in connecting to this new, safe and affordable drinking water supply. 

    We are also talking with neighbours of the new pipeline, connecting the new desalination plant to the Middle River-Kingscote network. 

    We are open to discuss connection opportunities with property owners in Nepean Bay and would suggest to anyone who is keen to discuss this, to make contact with me via email - aaron.glossop@sawater.com.au or via the project email kinewdesal@sawater.com.au.

    Kind regards

    Aaron Glossop

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    I live on Cape Willoughby Rd, opposite the golf course... is it possible for my cottage to be connected to mains water? Thank you

    Karen Robb asked 9 months ago

    Hi Karen

    Thanks for your question. At this stage, the scope of the project is to look to provide new connections to property owners in Baudin Beach, Island Beach, Sapphiretown and American River. Engagement with these communities will look to explore opportunities and interest in connecting to this new, safe and affordable drinking water supply.

    Any new connection within the Penneshaw reticulated network will require a standard connection request through our new connections team.  Please refer to our standard connections policy - Standard (sawater.com.au) for all you need to know.

    Kind regards

    Aaron Glossop

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    Your website under the heading of “Charges if you are Not connected to the Water Network States and I quote “If your property is ABLE to be connected to a water main,you are billed a rating on abuttal charge.This charge applies even if you are not connected”. This implies to me that if a water main is running past my house and I elect not to be connected I will be charged. What will that charge be?.

    George Bateman asked 10 months ago

    Hi George

    Thanks for your question.

    The 2020-21 annual charge for the supply of our safe, reliable and affordable water to your home is $67.85 per quarter, $271.40 per year. 

    As the mains network is designed to meet the water service needs of each property for your benefit and future owners, this charge applies whether your property is connected to the network or not.

    With statewide pricing in place across South Australia, all residential customers pay the same price for water, regardless of where they live. 

    Drinking water prices across South Australia include:

    1. a fixed charge for water supply
    2. variable water use price – the more you use, the more you pay.


    Kind regards

    Aaron Glossop

    SA Water