A new desalination plant in the Aboriginal community of Yalata, located on the Far West Coast of South Australia, is under construction – with the goal of supplying reliable and safe drinking water to local residents and businesses. 

The predominantly solar-powered 160kL/day plant (pictured), will replace the existing facility – which is nearing the end of its useful asset life – and is expected to be operating around mid-2021.

Approximately 3.8km of dual-connecting pipework will also be replaced, servicing local customers. 

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Water Expertise and Research, Dr Daniel Hoefel, said the Yalata plant is one of eight remotely located desalination facilities the utility operates, with many running on renewable energy. 

“Whether at Yalata, Yankalilla or Yorketown, we aim to manage all our water and wastewater infrastructure in a sustainable and innovative way,” Dr Hoefel said. 

“Like the existing facility, the new Yalata plant will be powered by a 40kW solar array with backup battery storage, helping to reduce operational costs and our environmental footprint. 

“It will also be fitted with a computer system which can be remotely monitored and controlled, meaning any faults or maintenance requirements can be identified early and repairs actioned as soon as possible. 

“Additionally, like its other inland counterparts, the Yalata plant uses a technology called reverse osmosis to remove naturally occurring impurities like high levels of salinity, which are found in many of Australia’s inland groundwater sources.” 

Helping to deliver the roadhouse pipeline component of the $2.3 million project is Ceduna-based business, Wilkinson Plumbing – and its civil subcontractor, Far West Hire, from nearby Nundroo. 

“One of the key drivers of our procurement processes is to work with local contractors and suppliers, which supports jobs and employs local knowledge to make sure the infrastructure is fit for purpose,” Dr Hoefel said. 

“Water is essential for drinking and maintaining public health, but it’s also vital for supporting economic and  social outcomes, and through construction and operation, the Yalata Desalination Plant delivers both, achieving several key goals of our stretch Reconciliation Action Plan for 2020-23.” 

SA Water manages water supplies and/or wastewater disposal systems in 13 Aboriginal communities and government facilities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, as well as nine other communities in various remote areas of the state, including Yalata. 

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