Victoria locks in three-year water desalination order

Posted 29 March 2017

Wonthaggi Desalination PlantVictoria's state government has committed to a minimum water order from the state’s desalination plant for the next three years. 

The announcement comes as desalinated water flows into the Cardinia Reservoir for the first time since the completion of the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant four years ago

Minister for Water Lisa Neville said this year's 50GL water order would be followed by at least 15GL for each of the next three years. 

“We’ve learnt the lessons from the Millennium drought and this secures our water supplies at a time when our reserves are decreasing,” she said. 

“The minimum water order will help with the operation of the plant without impacting on water bills.”

The government said that via “efficiencies found within the water contract”, customers would “save $12 for this year’s order on an annual average water bill”.

The decision to introduce a minimum annual water order was based on a similar initiative in South Australia and is set to be reviewed in three years. 

Neville said it would guarantee continued water security, better plant management and more steady prices for customers.

“The plant was not built to be turned on just when our water supply reached critical levels; instead its aim is to make sure that our supply doesn’t fall to those levels in the first place,” she said.   

The government pointed to latest Bureau of Meteorology data showing Victoria was set for an ‘Indian summer’, with temperatures in March well above average and rainfall at a decade-long low.

It comes on the back of an extra dry start to 2017.

“Rainfall across the four main catchments is 23% below the 30-year average, with 10 out of the last 12 weeks recording below-average inflows into Melbourne’s storages. Since December 2016, Melbourne’s storages have fallen by 97GL, or 5.3%,” a ministerial statement outlined.