Jindalee Beach WA

Water Corporation has proposed a new 100 billion litre-a-year desalination plant in Western Australia, with this new plant and Perth’s two existing ones to be powered by renewables.

Proposed on Water Corporation land north-east of Alkimos Beach and subject to environmental approval, the plant will be capable of delivering 100 billion litres of drinking water annually to support the Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS).

The IWSS currently provides drinking water to around 2.5 million Western Australians across Perth, Peel, some parts of the South-West and as far east as Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

The plant will be delivered in two stages, with the first 50 billion-litre stage expected by 2028.

Western Australian Minister for Water, Dave Kelly, said the State Government is continuing to ensure Western Australians enjoy secure water supply by investing in a new major source to support the growing city of Perth.

“Not only will the Alkimos Seawater Desalination Plant provide an eventual 100 billion litres of drinking water annually, it will also reduce reliance on precious groundwater to help protect our lakes, wetlands, bushland and parks,” Mr Kelly said.

“Desalination is energy intensive, that’s why it’s significant that Water Corporation has set itself a target of net zero by 2035, which will include having all three desalination plants powered by renewable energy.

“New water sources are just one element in a much larger and more complex supply planning process. It’s absolutely vital we all remain as water wise as possible to help protect Western Australia’s most precious resource.”

Water Corporation will also secure up to 400MW of additional renewable wind energy which will enable all three desalination plants, including the existing desalination plants at Kwinana and Binningup, to be powered with renewable energy.

The additional 400MW of renewable energy was included in the Western Australian Government’s estimated $3.8 billion investment in renewable power generation and storage announced last week.

This will support the utility to meet the new Western Australian Government emission target of 80 per cent below 2020 emission levels by 2030.

The Western Australian Government has already allocated $1.4 billion towards a significant down payment on the project.

Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, said the new renewably-powered desalination plant continues the State Government’s investments in climate action to support Western Australia’s long-term future.

“Across southern Western Australia, the long-term impact of climate change on traditional water sources is profound,” Mr McGowan said.

“A new plant will cater for the growing drinking water needs of Perth, Peel, parts of the South-West and Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and support future economic development.

“Importantly, the new desalination plant will be renewably-powered, and with the existing initiatives, will support the new 2030 Government emissions target.

“This target sets an example for industry throughout Western Australia and will set the State up for a low carbon, reliable and affordable renewable energy future.”

In addition to this, Water Corporation is also committing to a new, earlier net zero greenhouse gas target across all operations by 2035.

The new plant’s design has been carefully considered to protect the surrounding environment, cultural heritage and meet community expectations. 

It will be sunken behind large vegetated sand dunes to shield it from view and buffer noise, while a special tunnel boring technique will limit seabed and beach disturbance during construction.

A detailed Environmental Review Document for the Alkimos Seawater Desalination Plant is currently with the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority for assessment.

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