The Western Australian Government has announced that work will begin immediately to double the capacity of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant (SSDP) to provide 100 billion litres of drinking water a year.


The plant will provide water needs for communities stretching from Perth to the Goldfields.

Premier Colin Barnett said the decision to move now on the expansion of the new plant was essential because of the lack of inflow from rainfall into the dams for the second winter in a row.

“Despite the welcome, recent rain, long-term forecasts show the south-west corner of Western Australia will become even drier in the future,” Mr Barnett said.

“It’s important we act now to ensure security for the Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS) that supplies drinking water to Perth, Mandurah, the Goldfields and towns along the way to Kalgoorlie-Boulder.”

The first stage of the new plant near Binningup has been built over the past two and half years at a cost of $955million.  It has just started supplying water into the IWSS ahead of schedule and within budget and will be fully commissioned before the end of the year.

The Premier said the expansion would start delivering water into the IWSS by December 2012 and would cost $450million.  $300million would be funded through the reprioritisation of capital already approved by Government in the May State Budget for the Water Corporation’s $3.6billion four-year capital works program.

“By making the decision to expand the plant now, we can take advantage of the already established, skilled workforce at the SSDP site,” he said.

“The expansion of the SSDP was necessary because we can no longer rely on rainfall run-off into our dams as a major source of drinking water.

“This was never more apparent than at the end of the 2010 winter which was the driest since records began. 

“We had to act decisively as a Government and take direct action now.  This decision is a major step in providing security to our water supplies even in the driest of years.”

Water Minister Bill Marmion said that when the expanded plant was completed, half of the water needed annually to supply Perth and surrounding areas would be supplied from climate independent sources.

“Expansion of this plant using the existing team of contractors and engineers is both cost and time effective,” Mr Marmion said.