Kangaroo Island's new seawater desalination plant

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In partnership with the Australian and South Australian Governments, we are constructing a new seawater desalination plant and distribution network on Kangaroo Island, at a cost of $64.9 million.

This plant will provide additional water security for the island, improve water quality management to ensure ongoing compliance to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and expand the network to new customer areas with first water from the plant by the end of 2022. The new desalination plant will also 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.

To aid firefighting capabilities, we plan to install fire plugs every 2 kilometres along the trunk main and every 400 metres along the new pipelines in the new communities we aim to supply as part of this project. These fire plugs will allow access by the Country Fire Service for firefighting purposes.

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.

The new desalination plant location

The proposed project site is approximately two kilometres west of the Penneshaw township, within the road reserve of Hog Bay Road, Kangaroo Head near the intersection of William Walkers Way.

The location comprises approximately 8000 square metres of road reserve. This road reserve is adjacent to agricultural land and is approximately 400 metres from the coastline and 165 meters from the nearest residential property located to the north. A new access road is proposed with an entry and exit point from Desal Drive. Ancillary infrastructure will be located either on land already owned by us or on land adjacent to the existing plant, or within Desal Drive.

Current status

Stage 1 of the construction and installation of the new trunk main pipeline, connecting the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River-Kingscote network, has begun. This section extends from Pelican Lagoon, along Hog Bay Road, to our earth bank storage site near the corner of Charing Cross Road and Hog Bay Road.

Design development of Stage 2 of the pipeline, which extends from the Middle River water main on Playford Highway near the Kangaroo Island Airport along Arronmore Road and Hog Bay Road to Pelican Lagoon, is progressing well. Work on Stage 2 is expected to commence in early 2022.

A Development Application has been submitted to seek approval to construct the new desalination plant and supporting marine and terrestrial infrastructure. The Development Application provides a detailed description of the project and the project site, as well as detail of the benefit and rationale of the project.

A flythrough of the concept design of the desalination site can be found below. This reflects what has been submitted as part of our Development Application, and is subject to further design development as the project progresses.

How to get involved

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

Next steps

Construction will be undertaken in stages. The first work to be undertaken will be construction of approximately 50 kilometres of pipeline connecting Penneshaw with the existing Middle-River-Kingscote network. Construction works have commenced from Pelican Lagoon along Hog Bay Road to our earth bank storage site near the corner of Charing Cross Road and Hog Bay Road.

The construction of the desalination plant and associated marine works is expected to start in early 2022 with reticulation mains for the communities of American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown constructed from mid-2022.

With our target of first water through the desalination plant by the end of 2022, this includes providing water to new connections in these four communities. We will engage with these communities on opportunities to connect to this new, safe, clean affordable drinking water network.

Landowners and local communities along the pipeline route will be invited to discuss connections to this new supply of drinking water.

In partnership with the Australian and South Australian Governments, we are constructing a new seawater desalination plant and distribution network on Kangaroo Island, at a cost of $64.9 million.

This plant will provide additional water security for the island, improve water quality management to ensure ongoing compliance to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and expand the network to new customer areas with first water from the plant by the end of 2022. The new desalination plant will also 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.

To aid firefighting capabilities, we plan to install fire plugs every 2 kilometres along the trunk main and every 400 metres along the new pipelines in the new communities we aim to supply as part of this project. These fire plugs will allow access by the Country Fire Service for firefighting purposes.

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.

The new desalination plant location

The proposed project site is approximately two kilometres west of the Penneshaw township, within the road reserve of Hog Bay Road, Kangaroo Head near the intersection of William Walkers Way.

The location comprises approximately 8000 square metres of road reserve. This road reserve is adjacent to agricultural land and is approximately 400 metres from the coastline and 165 meters from the nearest residential property located to the north. A new access road is proposed with an entry and exit point from Desal Drive. Ancillary infrastructure will be located either on land already owned by us or on land adjacent to the existing plant, or within Desal Drive.

Current status

Stage 1 of the construction and installation of the new trunk main pipeline, connecting the existing Penneshaw facility and the Middle River-Kingscote network, has begun. This section extends from Pelican Lagoon, along Hog Bay Road, to our earth bank storage site near the corner of Charing Cross Road and Hog Bay Road.

Design development of Stage 2 of the pipeline, which extends from the Middle River water main on Playford Highway near the Kangaroo Island Airport along Arronmore Road and Hog Bay Road to Pelican Lagoon, is progressing well. Work on Stage 2 is expected to commence in early 2022.

A Development Application has been submitted to seek approval to construct the new desalination plant and supporting marine and terrestrial infrastructure. The Development Application provides a detailed description of the project and the project site, as well as detail of the benefit and rationale of the project.

A flythrough of the concept design of the desalination site can be found below. This reflects what has been submitted as part of our Development Application, and is subject to further design development as the project progresses.

How to get involved

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

Next steps

Construction will be undertaken in stages. The first work to be undertaken will be construction of approximately 50 kilometres of pipeline connecting Penneshaw with the existing Middle-River-Kingscote network. Construction works have commenced from Pelican Lagoon along Hog Bay Road to our earth bank storage site near the corner of Charing Cross Road and Hog Bay Road.

The construction of the desalination plant and associated marine works is expected to start in early 2022 with reticulation mains for the communities of American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown constructed from mid-2022.

With our target of first water through the desalination plant by the end of 2022, this includes providing water to new connections in these four communities. We will engage with these communities on opportunities to connect to this new, safe, clean affordable drinking water network.

Landowners and local communities along the pipeline route will be invited to discuss connections to this new supply of drinking water.

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Interactive Map

about 1 year

'Stick' your thoughts and ideas to our interactive map; highlight where you think a new water supply is needed or pin any areas of concern for you that we need to be aware of.

To add to our map, first click on the map to open it up, when there click the 'Add Pin' on the left-hand side of the page and drag your pin to a specific area. 

Page last updated: 15 October 2021, 09:33