Two major water infrastructure projects are set to service Bunbury, including the opening of a new water treatment plant, and the construction of a new water recycling facility and pipeline.
Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, announced the opening of the $15 million Ngoora Moolinap Water Treatment Plant to respond to the impacts of climate change and meet the future water supply needs of Greater Bunbury.
“This new plant will ensure a sustainable water supply into the future by moving away from water extraction at coastal bores, which were at risk of saltwater intrusion due to the impacts of climate change,” Mr Kelly said.
“This modern and highly efficient plant is securing a supply of quality water into the future, and will support the development and growth of the Bunbury region.”
The plant draws water from groundwater further inland from the coastal groundwater resources, where due to the impacts of climate change the risk of increasing salinity levels is threatening water quality.
By extracting water from an inland source, higher quality water is accessed for Aqwest’s 35,000 customers, which creates greater production cost efficiencies, delivering benefits to customers and the environment.
The Aqwest water treatment plant has the capacity to supply almost half of Bunbury’s average water consumption demand, producing 12 million litres of drinking water a day – equivalent to five Olympic swimming pools.
The new plant will enable Aqwest to continue to supply good quality water to Bunbury and support the town’s growth and development.
Construction of the plant at Glen Iris supported more than 200 jobs for local contractors over the past two years and was completed on budget and safely, with final works completed during the challenging COVID-19 environment.
The carbon footprint of the plant is reduced by 100KW of solar panels in an array on top of the filtration, storage and administration buildings, which work in conjunction with the grid to power the plant.
In collaboration with local Aboriginal elders, Aqwest has named the new plant Ngoora Moolinap Water Treatment Plant (Glen Iris), which means ‘water sitting in a well’ and ‘swampy place’, and reflects the Aboriginal history of and connection to the land.
Bunbury MLA, Don Punch, said, “This is an infrastructure project which has provided a world-class water production facility in Bunbury and is supporting the growth of our city.”
Meanwhile, Mr Kelly also announced an $11.9 million investment by the Western Australian Government for the construction of a new water recycling facility and pipeline alongside the Bunbury Wastewater Treatment Plant in Dalyellup.
The new facility will be funded under the Bunbury Water Resource Recovery Scheme and will supply water for use on major infrastructure projects and irrigation of public open spaces.
Climate change has particularly impacted Australia’s South West, resulting in reduced rainfall, reduced streamflow and reduced recharge into the region’s groundwater resources.
The use of treated recycled water to meet Bunbury’s non-potable water requirements for infrastructure projects and irrigation will alleviate the need to use high-quality potable water from the Yarragadee Aquifer, while reducing the amount of treated wastewater discharged out to sea.
“This initiative helps to address the impact climate change is having on our water supplies by ensuring the sustainability of the Yarragadee Aquifer and the future supply of potable water to homes in Bunbury,” Mr Kelly said.
“The fit-for-purpose, recycled water generated will provide a much needed water resource for industry and irrigation, and deliver far-reaching benefits to the Bunbury community by greening the environment and improving liveability.”
The project will support local jobs by contracting local companies during construction.
The project is an initiative led by Aqwest, which will build and operate the new facility, and source water for the scheme from Water Corporation’s Bunbury Wastewater Treatment Plant.
This facility will join around 80 other water recycling schemes in operation in Western Australia providing climate-resilient, fit-for-purpose water to communities and industry.
“Already our local water supply is constrained, with a number of local parks going without reticulation, so a project that will recycle water, protect our environment and allow for the watering of public open space to improve our suburbs is a fantastic outcome for our community,” Mr Punch said.
“This project shows we have the capacity to be innovative and develop new and sustainable ways of meeting the ongoing needs of our community, all while supporting jobs for local people.”