Australia to build largest desalination plant

Published: Sunday 15 July 2007

The Victorian government has announced plans to build Australia's largest desalination plant and pipeline to boost water supply to the state capital.

The desalination plant in Melbourne's Wonthaggi region will cost Aus $3.1 billion (us $2.6 billion). It will provide 150 billion litres of water per year to the city. The 70-km pipeline will bring water from the Goulburn-Murray river system in the city of Geelong down to Melbourne. "The effort is to expand the state's water grid," says Victoria's premier Steve Bracks. His plans have angered Geelong's farmers, as their water is being piped to Melbourne. The state capital residents have expressed concern about the environmental impacts of the desalination plant.

Meanwhile, Australia's prime minister John Howard has said that the Federal government will not help fund the Victorian government in it plans."There will be no side deals with the states to secure their agreements to the Federal government's Aus $10-billion (us $8.2 billion) takeover of the management of the water in the Murray-Darling Basin," says Howard (see 'Federal control over Murray-Darling river system', Down To Earth, March 31, 2007). Victoria is the only state refusing to sign federal government's plan to control the river system.

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