Queensland desalination expected to rise

Posted 1 September 2016

The Gold Coast Desalination Plant uses reverse osmosis to produce drinking waterThe Gold Coast desalination plant could be in regular use by 2019, according to its operator.

The Tugun plant, capable of producing 125ML a day, has just been used to supplement south-east Queensland drinking water supplies while the region’s main treatment plant underwent upgrades.

Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said this highlighted the importance of the desalination plant beyond emergencies and drought.

“This is the third time the desalination plant [has been] used to supply drinking water outside of extreme weather events,” he said.

“This is about being smart about how we use our water assets in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible.”

Seqwater Acting CEO Jim Pruss said: “Based on population growth and demand, the plant may be required to supplement peak demand on the Gold Coast during the summer as early as 2019-2020.”

The desalination plant was required for about a week while works were underway at the Molendinar Water Treatment Plant, which supplies more than 400,000 residents in the northern Gold Coast region.

“The desalination plant [was] the best option available to ensure the ongoing supply of a safe and reliable water supply while we upgraded our Molendinar plant,” Bailey said.

More than 20 suburbs were supplied with desalinated drinking water for about a week, including Gilston, Broadbeach, Nerang, Yatala Coomera, Bundall and Mermaid Beach.

Pruss said the desalination plant produced about 88 million litres of drinking water per day for the duration of the project.

The water was blended with water from the Mudgeeraba and Mt Crosby Water Treatment plants.

Prior to the Molendinar upgrade the desalination plant had been in standby mode.