19/11/2021

A proposed desalination plant at Billy Lights Point on the Eyre Peninsula will be put on hold for 12 months with the Marshall Liberal Government and SA Water to undertake further investigations.

Over the next year further scientific information will be collected and more consultation with the community and business sector will be done.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the latest water security outlook from leading groundwater experts at Flinders University informed the decision.

“A desalination plant on the Eyre Peninsula is something the State Government wants to deliver, however, there have been concerns raised by the community about the current proposed location, and questions around possible alternative sites,” Minister Speirs said.

“Favourable rainfall over the winter and spring months as well as enhanced monitoring and modelling has led to an improved water security outlook for the region.

“This has resulted in an increase to groundwater levels in the Uley Basin which has delayed the critical water security deadline for this region.

“Subsequent review and advice from independent experts at Flinders University now indicates extractions from the Basin can be sustainably managed through to the end of 2025, rather than the summer of 2023-24 as previously assessed.

“This means we can put the desalination plant project on hold for 12 months while further scientific investigations and more engagement with the community is undertaken.

“SA Water has already undertaken extensive scientific analysis and site reviews, but the pause allows for additional baseline monitoring and more detailed assessments to be provided on this site and alternative sites.

“This will be led by government and include the appointment of an independent third-party community engagement expert, with input from SA Water.

“The Marshall Liberal Government takes water security across the state very seriously and we are committed to improving South Australians access to this important resource.

“Water security on the Eyre Peninsula is something local MP Peter Treloar has been a strong advocate for and he has represented his community well.

“I look forward to working with him as well as Liberal candidate for Flinders Sam Telfer to deliver this important project.”

The Uley South Basin is the primary water source for Eyre Peninsula outside of the River Murray pipeline to Whyalla and Ceduna.