Water Week

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South Australian desalination plant at Cape Jervis could be linked to wave and wind power, argues MP

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

 Michael Pengilly said in the South Australian House of Assembly on 12 September 2007 that he supported siting any desalination plant to supply water to Adelaide at Cape Jervis.

Deep water and infrastructure support: “My reason for putting forward that option is that … [experts] have talked about the brine going into the gulf and having to put in a long pipeline, etc.,” said Pengilly. “My view is that, if you put the desalination plant at Cape Jervis in what is very deep water — 300 feet just off Cape Jervis — you do not have a problem with the brine because of the exceptional flow up and down Backstairs Passage. It also has the environmental advantage of Starfish Hill wind farm, which could be used and which could be expanded to augment the power for the desalination plant. You could also put in a supply line through the western Fleurieu.”

Viable alternative: Pengilly said water could be pumped to Myponga and put through a filtration plant, whether at Cape Jervis or Myponga. He pointed out that the water from Myponga came back to Sellicks Beach and to Happy Valley reservoir. “We will have to put in a vast amount of infrastructure, whatever we do, Pengilly said. “Bear in mind that the current desalination plant at Penneshaw (which is just across the other side) already drops its brine into deep water and it is only a small plant. I believe that it actually could be a viable alternative to the suggested ideas that have been put forward both by the opposition and the government, without any firm target at this stage of where to put such a desalination plant. If we are half smart about this, we will think it through and get the best possible outcome for South Australians.”

Cost blowout: “I am concerned that today the Minister for Infrastructure did not refute the blow-out to $1.6 billion. Where will the costings come from? This thing will cost a lot of money. It will take a lot of power. The option of using some electricity from Starfish Hill and the option of looking at wave power generated through Backstairs Passage as well should be considered, he said

Southern development opportunity: Calling on the state government to consider opposition ideas, Pengilly said that as well as extremely deep water in the Cape Jervis area, the added benefit of providing water to the south, coming through from Cape Jervis, needed to be thought about. “The south is developing rapidly, he said. “Myponga Dam currently services Goolwa, Yankalilla, Normanville and Victor Harbor; and some water does go back into the Sellicks Beach area. The dam is being underutilised. The government had announced already that there is a major upgrade to filtration down there. Quite clearly, if a desalination plant is built, we would have to have a bigger filtration plant. No-one argues about that in any way, shape or form. However, I am concerned that there is not much vision in this government. It does not want to think too far past whatever ideas are thrown up within its own ranks. I am throwing up this idea in the best interests of South Australia. It is a good possibility,” concluded Pengilly.

Reference: Michael Pengilly, Member for Finniss, House of Assembly, South Australia, 12 September 2007.

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