SA Water is going ahead with investigations to inform the design and construction of a desalination plant for Eyre Peninsula at Billy Lights Point, including a new pipeline that will connect the plant to existing water infrastructure.
These ongoing preliminary land and marine-based investigations will help the utility design a plant and connecting infrastructure that will minimise impact on the environment and support its development application, which will be assessed by multiple agencies and regulators through a comprehensive approval process.
SA Water Eyre Peninsula Project Director, David Henchliffe, said surveys were recently undertaken at targeted locations along the proposed pipeline route in Port Lincoln.
“This involved a process called ‘potholing’ where our crews drill a specific depth into the ground to assess soil condition and quality, as well as confirm where other existing underground services like electricity and telecommunications are located, to safely plan the installation of our water pipeline,” Mr Henchliffe said.
“While we know the pipeline will deliver water from the desalination plant through our existing North Side Hill storage tank just out of Port Lincoln, the exact route of the pipe is still being confirmed, and once finalised, will be shared with the community.
“In parallel, marine science studies and investigations are continuing, including modelling the dilution and dispersion of saline discharge at different distances from the desalination plant and a range of ongoing water quality monitoring and habitat mapping in Boston and Proper Bays.
Mr Henchliffe said that this, along with advice from South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) experts, will assist SA Water engineers to design, build and locate the plant’s inlet and outfall pipes, so that they protect the surrounding marine environment.
“Several other land-based assessments are also being undertaken, including flora and fauna surveys to map native vegetation, understand the characteristics of the local landscape and protect seabird habitats.
“This information, along with other project updates, continues to be shared and discussed with our community-based Project Reference Group, which has now had three meetings.”
SA Water is also looking to the business sector for support in the design and early development of construction planning for the desalination plant, with a recent Expression of Interest generating a positive response from the market, with shortlisted tenderers invited to submit detailed responses, as part of a Request for Tender.
Learn more about the project at watertalks.sawater.com.au/getthefacts or in-person at SA Water’s dedicated information centre on Liverpool Street in Port Lincoln.