30/06/2009 - 14:44

Work to start on $1bn desalination plant

30/06/2009 - 14:44

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Work on the near $1 billion Southern Seawater desalination plant near Binningup will start in three weeks after the state government today signed contracts with the Spanish-led consortium building the project.

Work on the near $1 billion Southern Seawater desalination plant near Binningup will start in three weeks after the state government today signed contracts with the Spanish-led consortium building the project.

Today's signing comes nearly a week after the federal government approved the project.

 

The announcement is below:

 

Water Minister Graham Jacobs confirmed work on the new seawater desalination plant will begin within three weeks, following the signing of contracts today with the Spanish-led consortia that will build the $955million project outside Binningup and operate it for 25 years.

The companies making up the Southern SeaWater Alliance are Tecnicas Reunidas and Valoriza Agua with local companies A J Lucas and Worley Parsons. The Water Corporation has a role within the alliance to ensure the delivery of the facility meets the long term needs for Western Australia's sustainable water future.

Dr Jacobs said the 2011 commissioning of the plant would not come a moment too soon to cater for the challenging immediate water situation, WA's ongoing growth and the corporation's ambition to reduce abstraction from the Gnangara groundwater system.

"Events of the past month, culminating in a decision to impose a trial winter sprinkler ban underline the challenge we continue to face in meeting our water needs into the future," he said.

"The reality is that we must immediately reduce our water use and manage the Integrated Scheme through to our next major source - the output of this plant

"On top of that we have to plan for ongoing growth and the increasing fragility of the Gnangara Mound has made the Water Corporation determined to reduce its abstraction as quickly as possible to a permanently sustainable level.

"The key to achieving that highly desirable outcome is the commissioning of the new desalination plant on time in 2011."

The Minister said it was expected the onsite workforce would peak at about 500 and construction and commissioning activities would continue for more than two years. Work on a water pipeline to Harvey, linking the plant to the Integrated Scheme and other components of the project, would also start soon.

"There is no doubt the start of construction of this very major project will provide a stimulus for the South-West and other areas of WA. The Water Corporation is committed to a buy local whenever possible policy, creating inevitable flow-on benefits," he said.

Dr Jacobs reiterated that renewable energy would be used to power the new facility.

"The Water Corporation intends to purchase all the energy requirements and associated Renewable Energy Certificates for the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant from renewable energy generators," he said.

"Most will come from generators using proven renewable energy technologies. The corporation is also hoping to have a portion of the energy requirements purchased from renewable energy generators using technologies not yet commercially proven at this stage."

The Minister said announcements on the energy providers would be made later this year.

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