Monday, December 12, 2005

Sydney’s proposed desalination plant

Probably the major environmental issue in Sydney right now is the proposed desalination plant. Sydney’s catchment has been in drought for some time and Sydney’s water supply is at relatively low levels. Various solutions for a secure water supply have been proposed but the big ticket item is a desalination plant.

Some of the issues are:

  • It’s a very expensive way to produce clean water;
  • It’s a very energy intensive way to produce clean water and that also means lots of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • The proposed site (and its surrounds) is environmentally sensitive and contains a number of unique and endangered ecological communities;
  • The political environment is interesting as the government has been criticised for its handling of other recent large infrastructure projects, in particular effectively granting a large degree of control over public services to private entities.

I’ll look at some of the issues surrounding the desal plant over the next few weeks but, if you’re interested, the environmental impact statement and other documents are on Sydney Water’s website. You can comment on the proposal until 3 February 2006 and I’d encourage you to do so.


Doug said...

I simply can't wrap my head around the Australian way of life on water: our approach to it is just so profligately wasteful.

Sydney's running out of water: established fact. Given that, it seems to me we could either: (1) get everyone to use less; or (2) create an amazingly wasteful and expensive desalination plant.

I mean, what the hell? How is this even a choice?

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