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A desalination plant on Queensland’s Gold Coast will help provide drinking water to the region while the Molendinar Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is upgraded.

Queensland Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said the Gold Coast Desalination Plant will again supplement the coast’s drinking water supply, this time due to works on the Molendinar WTP, which is the coast’s largest treatment plant.

Mr Bailey said, “The Molendinar WTP supplies more than 400,000 residents in the northern Gold Coast region.

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

“This is the third time the desalination plant is being used to supply drinking water outside of extreme weather events.

“In September last year more than 170,000 residents in the southern Gold Coast region of the coast were supplied drinking water from the desalination plant while Mudgeeraba WTP was refurbished.”

Mr Bailey said the project highlighted the importance of the desalination plant beyond emergencies and drought and why it is an essential part of the South East Queensland Water Grid.

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

“The desalination plant is the best option available to ensure the ongoing supply of a safe and reliable water supply while we upgrade our Molendinar plant.”

Desalination is a technology that separates dissolved salts and other minerals from seawater or other salty water to provide clean drinking water.

Desalinated water is blended with other Gold Coast water supplies and joins the South East Queensland Water Grid to supply homes and businesses on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane.

Seqwater Acting Chief Executive Officer Jim Pruss said the desalination plant will produce about 88 million litres of drinking water per day for the duration of the project. 

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

“Upgrade works, which will improve the way raw water enters the plant, are expected to be complete by Monday August 22,” Mr Pruss said.

“The Gold Coast plant played a significant role during the January 2011 flood event and the Australia Day 2013 extreme weather event, supplying up to 20 per cent of the region’s drinking water supply.

“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 began supplying water in February 2009 and can supply about 125 million litres of water a day – the equivalent to about 50 Olympic sized swimming pools.

The desalination plant is currently in hot standby mode, which means it is not permanently in use, but is capable of being brought back online within a set period to enhance water security on the Gold Coast and South East Queensland.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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