Desalination study mauled

Jane Emerick
Environmentalists have slammed a State Government study of the Surf Coast for a desalination plant to bolster Melbourne’s drinking water supplies.
Geelong Environmental Council president Joan Lindros said desalination should be a last resort in the Government’s effort to address water shortages.
“Recycling water comes at much less cost and until that option has been exhausted desalination is overkill,” Ms Lindros said.
“We should be doing things that are not so power hungry.
“We put water into the sea at Black Rock and without huge expense this could be recycled.”
Ms Lindros was responding to a report this week that the Government had revealed a desalination feasibility study would extend past Port Phillip and Western Port bays to include the Surf Coast and Gippsland.
A Labor MP told parliament a team of experts had been working on the $18.5 million feasibility study for six months.
The Melbourne Water report would examine potential damage to marine life, financial costs and the effects of expelling billions of litres of briny discharge into the ocean.
Ms Lindros said transporting water from areas as far away as Apollo Bay to central population areas like Melbourne was “impractical”.
She said putting large amounts of salt back into the ocean would affect salinity levels and damage sea life.
A spokesperson for Water Minister John Thwaites ruled out building the plant in any of the state’s marine national parks, ruling out a stretch of coast between Bells Beach and Anglesea.