Geoff Gallop

Geoff Gallop

Former Premier; Minister for Public Sector Management; Water Resources; Federal Affairs

    Bureau figures prove need for desalination plant

    6/01/2005 5:30 PM

    Bureau of Meteorology figures released today reaffirmed the critical need for a desalination plant in Western Australia, Premier Geoff Gallop said today.

    The figures revealed that 2004 was the 10th hottest year nationally since records started in 1910.

    Dr Gallop said continued drought-like conditions would force the introduction of a total sprinkler ban unless a desalination plant was built.

    Perth’s annual rainfall for 2004 was 637mm - well below the long-term average of 861mm - making it the driest year since 1979. The result is consistent with a dramatic downward trend in rainfall and dam run-off figures in recent years.

    The drying climate has put increasing pressure on dam levels and valuable aquifers.

    “We simply cannot rely on rainfall as a guaranteed water source,” the Premier said.

    “Our need for a rainfall-independent water source is greater now than ever and that is why the Government is committed to building a major seawater desalination plant at Kwinana.”

    The Kwinana desalination plant was one of a number of water resource options being pursued by the Gallop Government.

    The plant, due for completion late next year, will provide an extra 45 gigalitres of water for the integrated scheme - or an additional 17 per cent annually.

    “When my Government came to power in 2001 the previous Liberal Government had left the State with no clear plan or direction in relation to water policies,” Dr Gallop said.

    “Since then, my Government has implemented a comprehensive State water strategy today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

    “As a result, we do not have total sprinkler bans like other States and we are embarking on a medium and long-term strategy to preserve Perth’s gardens and protect thousands of jobs in the nursery and related industries.”

    Major initiatives undertaken by the Gallop Government also included:
    • a major feasibility study into transporting water from the Kimberley region;
    • a major feasibility study into accessing water from a major South-West aquifer;
    • the construction of a waste water recycling plant at Kwinana;
    • expansion of the capacity of our traditional underground and surface sources;
    • water trading within farms in the South-West;
    • a State-wide irrigation review;
    • scientifically and community-backed household sprinkler restrictions since 2001;
    • water metering on the stressed parts of the Gnangara Mound; and
    • the successful water rebate program for households.
    So far, more than 125,000 households have participated in the waterwise rebate program, saving an estimated 50 billion litres of water.

    Premier's office: 9222 9475