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Wonthaggi residents will today descend on Melbourne to voice their opposition to the Victorian Government’s proposed desalination plant.
Proponents say the desalination plant would deliver 150 billion litres of water a year, but conservationists say recycling and demand management could achieve the same.
The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Campaigner Kate Noble said desalination should be an option of last resort.
“The Government has decided to go ahead with desalination before fully assessing other options and without a full analysis of the environmental impacts of the plant.
“A desalination plant will pump thousands of tonnes of salty brine into the marine environment – the environmental impacts of this must be fully assessed,” she said.
“The Government’s ‘Our Water Our Future’ policy shows the Eastern Treatment Plant could deliver up to 130 billion litres of recycled water to industry. If the Government serviced Victoria’s coal-fired power stations with recycled water, instead of fresh drinking water, it would free up 130 billion litres of water every year.
“Projects in NSW and Queensland are replacing drinking water with recycled water for industrial uses such as power stations – why are Victorian power plants so special that we can’t do the same here?
“Victoria is lagging behind the other states when it comes to rainwater tanks and grey water recycling. In Perth, which has less rainfall than Melbourne, new homes are required to have rainwater tanks or make equivalent water savings from grey water recycling. It’s the same story for Queensland, NSW, SA, WA and the ACT, while Victorian requirements only cover half the new homes built.
“The Government should more seriously consider water recycling and rainwater tanks before spending $3.1 billion in capital and upwards of $165 million in running costs for a desalination plant,” Ms Noble said.
ACF is calling on the Victorian Government to investigate the more sustainable alternatives to the desalination plant proposed for Wonthaggi.