Australia to Build Huge Desalination Plant
Southern Australia has been in the grip of serious drought; reservoirs are drying out, and water restrictions are in place. The government has planned a $4 billion project to provide more drinking water, including a huge desalination plant that is expected to be one of the worlds largest.
The project is planned to be sited in Wonthaggi, south-east of Melbourne, and the government expect that water bills could double to fund it. This, combined with news from the WWF warning that removing salt from sea water could worsen the problem, makes it a less than popular plan.
Desalination is energy intensive and emits a lot of greenhouse gases. The WWF said that Australia, Spain and Saudi Arabia have made significant progress by limiting water use and recycling supplies.
However, the water must come from somewhere, and desalination is a convenient solution. Although the energy use if a problematic side effect, one imagines that it would be entirely feasible to power the plant using solar cells. It would raise the cost of an already expensive project, but money must be spent in order to create a sustainable and appropriate infrastructure. ::ENN