Production at the Gold Coast Desalination Plant has ramped up with more than 170,000 coast residents to receive desalinated water.

The plant is being used as the sole supply to a community for the first time outside of extreme weather events.

Seqwater Chief Executive Officer, Peter Dennis, said some residents in the southern region of the Gold Coast would begin receiving desalinated water immediately.

“The Gold Coast Desalination Plant will supplement the coast’s water supply for up to six weeks while we undertake a major upgrade of the Mudgeeraba Water Treatment Plant,” Mr Dennis said.

“The upgrade of Mudgeeraba plant, which was constructed in 1969, is essential to ensure continued operation and water supply for the Gold Coast.”

The desalination plant will produce between 40 and 80 megalitres of drinking water per day for the duration of the Mudgeeraba upgrade.

Mr Dennis said the upgrade project highlighted the importance of the desalination plant beyond emergencies and drought.

“This is about being smart in regards to how we use our water assets in the most cost effective and efficient way possible,” he said.

The Gold Coast Desalination Plant has played a significant role in maintaining water supplies during extreme weather events. It supplied up to 20 per cent of the region’s drinking water supply during the January 2011 flood event and the Australia Day 2013 extreme weather event.

It was also blended with treated dam water and used to supplement drinking water supplies in the final year of the Millennium drought in 2009 and into 2010.

Based on population growth and demand, the desalination plant may be required to supplement peak demand on the Gold Coast as early as 2020.

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