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.

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.

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.