EP desalination site selection committee formed

A refreshed and independently-led process to explore potential alternative sites for the planned Eyre Peninsula desalination plant will begin today.

This follows an announcement in November by the Marshall Liberal Government for further investigations and community consultation over the next year into the proposed location.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said a 20-member site selection committee has been established – comprising key local sectors and chaired by outgoing Member for Flinders Peter Treloar – and will be integral to determining a preferred location for the desalination plant.

“Our number one priority with this project is improving drinking water security and quality in the region, but we also know how important it is to the local community that a location for a new desalination facility is environmentally and socially acceptable,” Minister Speirs said.

“SA Water has been working with a range of local interest groups, and these sectors will be represented in the newly-established site selection committee, who will work through the identification and shortlisting of potential sites, before recommending a site that best meets the environmental, social, technical, cultural and economic criteria, which the committee will help frame.

“The committee, which will identify a preferred location by mid-2022, has a wide range of expertise to help ensure all interests are being taken into consideration, and local knowledge is being used to add value to the project.

“SA Water’s expert input will be ensuring the site is technically feasible, provides value for money, and achieves water quality outcomes for the Eyre Peninsula region.

“Peter Treloar’s involvement as independent chair of the committee was suggested and unanimously endorsed by all key local stakeholders.”

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said committee includes representatives from aquaculture, agriculture, local business and local government.

“Bringing these groups together will mean we hear firsthand from a wide cross-section of the local community to help inform decision making,” Mr Treloar said.

“Details of which alternative sites to be assessed will be determined with the committee early in the meeting schedule, with the broader community provided with opportunities to provide feedback on the committee’s key decision areas throughout the process.”

In parallel to this engagement, ongoing data collection will be established for short-listed sites, and continue at the base case location, building robust documentation for the approvals process.

Subject to development and environmental approvals, construction of the new desalination plant is expected to begin mid-next year, with first water to be delivered by the end of 2024.

A new desalination plant for Eyre Peninsula will provide a new reliable, climate-independent source of drinking water to supplement existing groundwater sources and the River Murray, and is critical to maintaining a long-term supply of safe, clean drinking water for around 35,000 SA Water customers, as well as enabling economic growth.

For more information on the project, visit watertalks.sawater.com.au.

Site selection committee members:

  • Peter Treloar (Independent Chair) – outgoing Member for Flinders
  • Brad Flaherty – City of Port Lincoln
  • Matthew Morgan – City of Port Lincoln
  • Jo-Anne Quigley – District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula
  • Delfina Lanzilli – District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula
  • Stephen Hibbit – District Council of Tumby Bay
  • Rebecca Hayes – District Council of Tumby Bay
  • Clare McLaughlin – Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association
  • Peter Scott – Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association
  • Mark Whitfield – Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board
  • Jonathan Clark – Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board
  • Bryan Trigg – Regional Development Australia Eyre Peninsula
  • Ryan Viney – Regional Development Australia Eyre Peninsula
  • Andy Dyer – South Australian Mussel Growers Association
  • Brian Jeffries– Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association
  • Thomas McNab – Abalone Industry Association of South Australia
  • Claire Webber – South Australian Sardine Industry Association
  • Sharni-Marie Barney – Port Lincoln Chambre of Commerce and TourismShane Hodgens – Recreational Fishers Council
  • Gary Neave – TSA

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