Reader response - Water view

THE invitation by State Scene columnist, Joe Poprzeczny, to comment on Peter Coyne’s Wheatbelt desalination plan is appreciated (WA Business News, March 1). Mr Coyne’s scheme is certainly unique in overcoming the four problems mentioned. It appears to have been well researched and offers advantages that surely should be considered seriously. The possibility of utilising the available 200-metre head to generate both electricity and to pressurise an RO system is particularly interesting since the primary operating cost of desalination is the cost of power. Perhaps funds should be allocated quickly for pilot schemes to confirm the individual aspects of the proposal. My experience comes from involvement in water supply, irrigation and pumping schemes in Malaysia and Singapore. These were based on budgets submitted by the relevant departments, with funds then allocated under a four-year plan. Specialist consultants were appointed to prepare tenders. Contracts awarded to local agents and international specialist water treatment, pumping and pipeline companies, were supervised by the con-sultant. This system produced quality competitive schemes without involvement of politicians. Funds were always allocated for continuing water sources management and engineering studies for pilot schemes to establish future supply and treatment needs. Perth’s water supply has become a political football. It seems that there is a need now for some independent body with sufficient expertise to consolidate all studies and reports and recommend the way forward, be it by appointment of a design consultant or adoption of one or more of the existing proposals. L T Goode Kalamunda

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