The New South Wales government has begun preliminary planning to boost output at Sydney’s desalination plant, in a bid to secure the city’s water supply as dam levels continue to drop.
The Kurnell plant, which can currently supply drinking water for up to 1.5 million people in Sydney, returned to operation in January for the second time since 2012. The water minister, Melinda Pavey, said on Sunday it was playing a significant role in maintaining the city’s water supply during “one of the worst droughts in living memory”.
“The SDP (Sydney Desalination Plant) reached full production at the end of July – two months ahead of schedule,” she said in a statement.
“The plant is now producing an average of 250 million litres a day – approximately 15 per cent of Sydney’s supply.”
Pavey said dam depletion rates had improved by around 0.2% a week since the plant was turned on.“By undertaking this planning work, should the drought worsen and water levels continue to drop, we will be ready to act immediately to increase water supply,” she said.
The shadow treasurer, Walt Secord, said Labor would give its in-principle support for the move, subject to “appropriate and final financial and environmental briefings”.
“Water security is above partisan politics and we want to work with the Berejiklian government to secure Sydney’s water supply,” he said in a statement on Sunday.