Where is the cost-benefit analysis on a desal plant?

A desalination plant at Port Stanvac in South Australia Photo: Wikicommons

Forum –

The last thing that we need is a desalination plant as the centrepiece of our water-management strategy (CCN 279).

Such an installation would involve a huge capital cost, at a time when the Council is bankrupt, for what is only a back-up facility to be used in an emergency but will, otherwise, be an unused hulk, requiring ongoing maintenance costs from an already over-stressed budget and depreciating financially and operationally with each year.

Where is the cost/benefit analysis that has been made of this project and how does the proposal compare with other options for securing our water supply into the indefinite future?

Given the demonstrated incompetence of our Council, what confidence could we have that the idea has had any serious scrutiny at all?

Desalination plants throughout the world have a history of technical problems, and, of course, the price of the water produced is magnitudes greater than that of conventional water systems – something that the ratepayers will be burdened with on top of the other imposts already in the pipeline.

What we should be looking at is a recycling strategy that will recover the water that is now dumped in the ocean and process it for reuse.

The same water can be used over and over again (suitably supplemented for the water loss that is unavoidable in any system), so that there never needs to be a shortage in future.

The technology is readily available, and it only requires a little imaginative thinking on the part of the city managers to come up with a workable initiative.

Let us have an engineering feasibility study on this option, before we are lumbered with another financial white elephant for future residents to deal with.

Email, Feb 16
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy