Western Australia Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls
Western Australia Minister for Water Bill Marmion
Water Supplies Secured For The West Pilbara
Victor P Taffa
Future water supplies for Karratha, Roebourne, Dampier and Wickham have been secured by a new agreement between the State Government and Rio Tinto Limited, leading to the deferral of a planned desalination project.
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls and Water Minister Bill Marmion said under the new agreement Rio Tinto would surrender its annual entitlement to water from the Millstream aquifer. Rio Tinto will develop its own alternative water supply from the Bungaroo Valley at an estimated cost to the company of US$310 Million.
Mr. Grylls said the agreement would help ensure that community and Government aspirations for the West Pilbara could be realised.
“Secure water supplies will enable the growth of Karratha as a city and the expansion of surrounding communities as part of the Pilbara Cities vision.” Mr. Grylls said.
“This agreement means there will be enough water to accommodate Rio’s planned major expansion of its production capacity.”
“It also allows other businesses and industries to plan investment projects, knowing that water is available to meet the needs of an expanded population.”
Mr. Marmion said the agreement meant the State would not proceed with the $370 Million West Pilbara Desalination Project.
“Heavy rains in the Pilbara following the 2010-11 cyclone season replenished major drinking water sources and secured short-term water supply. The rain, combined with this agreement, has allowed the Government to defer the desalination project.” Mr. Marmion said.
“The Government was separately engaged in discussions with Rio on the possibility of reducing their use of scheme water for industrial purposes.”
“This is great news for the future of water supplies for the West Pilbara.”
Mr. Grylls said that in return for surrendering its allocation from the Millstream water supply scheme it built 40 years ago, some of Rio’s secondary processing obligations under Agreements with the State would be amended. The State and Rio will jointly develop a proposal to upgrade the existing water supply infrastructure and increase its capacity.