Victorian desalination plant

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Plans to build a desalination plant in Victoria, Australia, were announced by the Brack's Labor government[1]

Information about the plant

  • Household water bills are expected to double over the next five years to pay for a $4.9 billion water strategy to secure Melbourne's water supplies
  • Estimated water production is 150 billion litres (150 gigalitres) of fresh water per year
  • The plant is planned to be operations by the end of 2011
  • It is intended that the plant will provide additional water to Melbourne, Geelong, Western Port and South Gippsland.
  • The plant is estimated to use about 90 mega watts (MW) of power per day. While a commitment was made to use renewable energy to power the plant in an attempt to make it greenhouse neutral, it is possible the plant will be powered by a co-located gas fired power station.
  • The plant is expected to emit 200 million tonnes of brine to the ocean.
  • The plant will be constructed using a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and could end up being foreign owned.
  • The capital cost of the plant would could equip about 600,000 households with tank systems and pumps (at $5000 per house) that could provide more water than the plant's estimated production. Combined with recycling sewerage water and protecting our catchments, we may not even need desalination.
  • The Brack's government opposed the construction of a desalination plant during the 2006 Victorian State election, but has since reversed its position.

Costs

  • The construction cost is estimated to be $3 billion
  • Operating costs (chardged by a private firm) over a 25 year period could reach $1.5 billion[2]
  • Melbourne Water estimates the cost of production of desal water to be $3000 a megalitre

References

  1. Bracks announces $5 billion water plan, The Age, June 19, 2007
  2. Foreigners bid for desalination deal, Herald Sun, March 03, 2008
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