Western Australia has become the first state in Australia to use desalination as a major public water source. By harnessing water from the ocean, we have acquired an abundant source of drinking water that is not dependent on rainfall.
The 45 gigalitre per year desalination plant includes seawater intake, pretreatment, reverse osmosis desalination, drinking water potabilisation and pumping station and produces 17 percent of Perth’s water needs. In a news story from last year, the Western Australian Water Corporation said
its desalination plant in Kwinana will help avoid the need for total sprinkler bans in Perth and the south-west.
Desalination is a wasteful use of resources. Despite this, the WA government is hoping to open more desalination plants. WA could avoid total sprinkler bans by using water more efficiently and recycling the water we do use, as I’ve discussed previously.
The Greens (WA) Water Resources Policy 2005 discussed the desalination plant at Kwinana.
The Greens (WA) oppose the construction Kwinana by the Water Corporation of a desalination plant at Kwinana on Greenhouse gas emission grounds.
The plant does use electricity produced by the Emu Downs Wind Farm, 200km north of Perth, but this electricity could be better used in replacing electricity generated from coal, where most of Perth’s electricity currently comes from.
Some of the history of the politics of building the desalination plant can be found at the Perth Water Users Group and one of the group’s founders Warwick Hughes’ website on Perth and Catchments Rainfall History and Water Resources.