Australia is a dry place and a wet one too and Victoria is no different. Durng the last 10 years Victoria has been in drought which has forced the government to think about policies to ensure the security of our water supply. The Victorian Labor Government has decided that a Desaltination plant is required, its construction well under way.
Annouced by the Bracks government is June 2007, the Victorian Deslaination Project was to secure water resources for the state – but at what cost? After all, during the 2006 state election, Bracks promised not to build a desalination plant, only to break his promise shortly afterwards.
– Victorian water bills are forecast to double over the next 5 years and taxpayers pay $ 4.9 billion to fund the project.
– The Desalination Plant will use a massive amount of energy in order to extract the salt out and the sea water and filter it. The plant will use 90-120MW power plant which is equivalent to 2160mMWh per day and releases 1.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas every year.
– Using a Victorian household energy consumption of 4000kw/h per year the desalination plant will use the same amount of energy as it would take to power 197,000-262,800 Victorian families.
– Each year the plant will pollute the beautiful seawater near Wonthagi by releasing 200 million tonnes of brine into the ocean.
– No proper planning process was put into place prior to its announcement
– The area the plant is being constructed is in flood plains with it flooding in 2007. The government claimed this was a “once in a century flood” but only a few years later the area was under flood warnings once more.
– The construction of the plant is $ 3bn. For $ 3Bn over a million Victorian households could have had water tanks installed which would have been enough to supply a large amount of their daily water use. The population of Victoria is approx 5.4 million and if 3 people life in each house then that mean 56% of households could have had water tanks installed for the same price as the construction costs.
– Plant is going to cost $ 18 billion dollars of tax payer’s money over the 30 years.
– Rain water tanks are 5 times more efficient than desalination
– 72% of Melbourne household are suitable for having a rainwater tank
– If the $ 3bn construction cost was put into water tanks then a large amount of energy would be saved. The total energy used to run household water takes is in the order of 15% that of the desalination plant.
The Labor government has really been short sighted on the issue of water storage and the best and most efficient way to secure our resources. The expensive desalination plant will cost tax payer for well past the 30 year agreement for the plant. It will be up to Baillieu and the Victoria Liberal party to ensure the voters don’t forget Wonthaggi come polling day and hold Brumby accountable.