The SA Government has announced further investment in the state’s water infrastructure to ensure the security of water supplies.

SA Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter, recently announced that the $5.75 million desalination plant at Hawker in the Flinders Ranges has commenced operating, with the capability of supplying up to 440 kilolitres of treated drinking water a day to local homes and businesses.

Construction of the $5.75 million reverse osmosis plant began earlier this year.

Minister Hunter said a significant amount of work had led up to this point, with initial discussions between the Government and the local Flinders Ranges Council starting in 2001.

“Since then, SA Water has held extensive consultation and discussions with the local community to identify a desalination solution that was suitable for a remote location, and could also be delivered efficiently and within budget,” Minister Hunter said.

“The new plant, which is located about 4km outside of the Hawker township, now supplies approximately 200 local customers.

“The water is sourced from a groundwater basin, which is then treated at the desalination plant and piped to customers.

“Commissioning of the plant began in July, so people in Hawker should have already been noticing a substantial improvement in the taste of their water.

“The quality of water previously supplied to Hawker complied with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2011), but the local community found it too salty to drink.

“The purpose of the plant is not only to reduce the salinity level of Hawker’s water supply, but also provide a sustainable long term solution to meet the needs of residents, businesses and tourists.”

Twenty jobs were created during construction, but the plant will now be self-operating with existing local operators available to manage it if required.

Minister Hunter also confirmed that SA Water would recommend to the state’s independent water regulator the extension of a pipeline into the Upper North town of Orroroo to help improve its local water supply.

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