24 Jan 2013

WA's water dilemma

It is known for having the fastest growing population of any state in the country, and its capital is already being heralded as the major Australian urban centre of the future, but Western Australia faces on enormous infrastructure problem.

The state and in particular its capital Perth has been experiencing hot weather and ever-diminishing rainfall, drying up the state's system of dams and prompting water restrictions and dire warnings of shortages.

As panic over water supply sets in, two expensive and electricity-intensive desalination plants have been built. The Perth Seawater Desalination Plant, built in 2006, already supplies roughly 20 per cent of the city’s drinking water needs, and is powered by the Emu Downs Wind Farm. More recently the Southern Seawater Desal Plant, near Binningup in the Shire of Harvey, was opened in 2011. Prompted by further drought, the state government has already begun construction to double its capacity. Combined, the two plants currently provide 95 billion litres of drinking water each year.
Read article

Premier says desal will 'drought-proof' Perth
The Premier Colin Barnett has opened the second stage of the Southern Seawater Desalination plant near Binningup.
"It comes at a price but it means we are secure in water supply."

My question is; what happens with all the salt? Is it carefully being discarded or will it be another environmental desaster in the making?

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