Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh
No Water Ordered From Desalination Plant This Year
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Government has placed a first water order of zero gigalitres from the Wonthaggi desalination plant for the coming financial year.
Water Minister Peter Walsh said Melbourne’s water storages were at 64.8 % thanks to good rainfall and the water saving efforts of Melburnians.
“Melbourne’s dams are holding almost 1200 Gl and we are coming into the winter/spring filling season with wet catchments.” Mr. Walsh said.
“It’s also clear that the plant will not be fully completed by the original completion date of 30 June 2012.”
“AquaSure has advised the plant is not expected to be fully completed and have passed all reliability tests until February 2013, well into the financial year, although the plant will produce water until reliability testing is complete.” Mr. Walsh said.
Mr. Walsh said the contract signed by the former Labor Government locked water users into paying an annual security payment once the plant was fully commissioned.
“Under Labor’s contract, Melbourne water users would be required to pay $654 Million in the 2012-13 financial year if the project was complete by 30 June 2012.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The cost of purchasing water taken from the plant is in addition to the annual security payment.” Mr. Walsh said.
Under the contract, each year by 1 April the government must place a water order of either 0 GL, 50 GL, 75 GL, 100 GL, 125 GL or 150 GL for the coming financial year.
“It would cost an extra $25 Million to purchase 50 GL from the plant, while an order of 150 gigalitres would cost $109 Million.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Given we don’t need the water and we are already contractually obliged to pay for water produced during commissioning, we believe the most responsible course of action is to save this money.”
Water orders are determined based on a range of factors including the cost to customers and the need to manage water security through the analysis of supply and demand, water storage levels and management, and a range of future weather scenarios.