Sydney households face higher water bills due to desal plant expansion

COMMENTATORS on this article in the SMH have not been fooled by NSW INC …

THE SPIN of the ‘VIBRANT’ … exciting and rapidly growing SYDNEY during a longstanding DROUGHT has not gone unnoticed …

Together with the Scomo Government policies hellbent on seeing Sydney become the size of Shanghai

WITH NSW INC intensive overdevelopment ‘Smart’ slum cities to pocket stamp duty taxes … the consequence Warragamba Dam is now only some 40% full.

The Kurnell Desal Plant … now privatised, and with its proposed expansion that will mean higher water bills for Constituents

WHY doesn’t the Scomo Government cut its Immigration and Visa Manipulation Schemes to slow down the emptying of Our Water Supply?  That would be logical …

BUT alas this is all about the PROPERTY PONZI and their Money Laundering clients …

HYDROPANELS and grey water recycling could well provide a far less costly and quicker solution than expanding the Desal Plant …


UNTIL the Scomo Government acts in the interests of Australian Voters … and slows down Growth!

Sydney households face higher water bills due to desal plant expansion

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By Matt O’Sullivan and Pallavi Singhal

January 9, 2020

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Water experts are warning an expansion of Sydney’s $2.3 billion desalination plant is likely to take up to * two years to complete and lead to higher bills for households.

With the city’s dam levels dropping fast, the Berejiklian government has begun the process of fast-tracking a doubling in the size of the plant at Kurnell in Sydney’s south.

Sydney's desalination plant will be doubled in size.
Sydney’s desalination plant will be doubled in size.

*The move has sparked demands from Labor, the Greens and independent MPs for the government to protect households from higher water bills to fund the expansion, given it stands to pocket $2.5 billion in dividends from Sydney Water between 2018 and 2021.

*“This is money that should have been directed to major water recycling projects, water efficiency and fixing the * city’s leaking pipes,” independent upper house MP Justin Field said.

Water Minister Melinda Pavey, who has said it is important to minimise customer bills, said on Thursday that an increase in bills “has to be a consideration”.

“If you’re building infrastructure, it does have an impact on bills,” she told ABC Radio.

An expansion of the plant is likely to take up to two years to complete.
An expansion of the plant is likely to take up to two years to complete.CREDIT:DEAN SEWELL

Stuart Khan, a water expert at the University of NSW, agreed consumers would inevitably face higher bills to cover the cost of the expansion and ongoing operation of the plant.

The government has asked the state’s pricing regulator to investigate prices needed over the longer term to recover the capital cost of expanding the desalination plant.


The Sydney Desalination Plant at Kurnell has been running at capacity since July and provides about 15 per cent of the city's water.

Sydney desal plant to expand to provide more drinking water

*Professor Khan said the expansion was the “right way to go”, given the $2.3 billion investment in the plant a decade ago when it was built.

“We have already laid the ground work for it. The expansion of the desalination plant is the only realistic option at this point,” he said.

*A significant increase in the amount of water pumped from the Shoalhaven, south of Sydney, was expensive and energy intensive, given the large distance and topography, while recycling water from treatment plants was a longer-term option, he said.

While the plant could be expanded within about a year if Sydney was about to run dry, Professor Khan said it was likely to take about two years to complete.

Greens upper house MP Cate Faehrmann said the need to turn to desalination options had arisen because of the government’s reluctance to introduce tougher water restrictions and to look at broader water recycling options last year, when it was warned of an impending water crisis.

Five sharks circle boat off Rottnest Island

Play video2:14Inside our desalination plant

It hasn’t delivered a drop of water yet, but the Wonthaggi desalination plant stands ready to turn on the taps whenever needed.

Labor leader Jodi McKay also criticised the delay in the preparation of a business case for the expansion.

“NSW is running out of water; we don’t have time to waste,” she said.

While the government is yet to give final approval, an expanded plant will double the supply of drinking water each day to 500 megalitres.


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An 18-kilometre pipeline that links the desalination plant to a major Sydney Water supply line at Erskineville is large enough to handle a doubling in the output.

Sydney Water confirmed it would need to carry out work to its system to handle the extra volume of water if the government gives final approval.

It would include modifications to the distribution system to move water to Sydney’s west and south-west to meet customer demand.

The government said the operator of the desalination plant had begun a competitive tender process to determine the potential cost of the expansion should it go ahead.

Matt O’Sullivan

Matt O’Sullivan is City Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Pallavi Singhal

Education reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald




Inside our desalination plant