Australia's first desalination research facility has opened in Rockingham, Western Australia. The research facility, a joint venture between State and Federal Governments, was launched by local and international specialists.


State Water Minister Bill Marmion opened the National Centre for Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) centre which will receive $3 million over three years from the State Government and an additional $2 million from the Federal Government.  


NCEDA is a consortium of 13 universities and CSIRO collaborating to improve desalination technology with Australian and international research institutions, private companies, water and power utilities, and government agencies.


At the opening, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Senator Don Farrell  announced new funding for NCEDA research projects, adding to the existing 22 national projects currently underway.


State Science and Innovation Minister John Day said State funds were primarily spent on the design, construction, commission and operation of the pilot-scale testing and research facility at the Rockingham Desalination Research Facility and visitor facilities at the NCEDAs new location at Murdoch University’s Rockingham Campus.


“Money will also go toward top-up scholarships in the area of desalination to students at NCEDAs WA participating organisations, which include The University of Western Australia and Murdoch, Curtin and Edith Cowan universities,” Mr Day said.


The NCEDA manages $20 million of research funding over five years from the Federal Government’s National Urban Water and Desalination Plan.


NCEDA was established by the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative following significant rapid investment in seawater desalination in all mainland state capitals and huge growth in desalination worldwide as a sustainable solution to long term water shortages from drought and climate change.


NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer said that by the end of 2012 up to half of all of Perth’s and Adelaide’s public water needs will come from desalination – with Australia’s six major coastal desal plants capable of supplying 35% of major capital cities’ water.


The opening coincides with about 1200 desalination industry delegates in meeting in Western Australia for the IDA World Congress on Desalination Solutions in Perth, September 4-9.