A $15 million upgrade to SA Water’s Morgan Water Treatment Plant has increased storage at the facility, improving operational flexibility of energy-intensive activities like pumping, and improving water quality, water quantity and cost effectiveness.

The new double-lined earth bank storage was the major component of the upgrade to the plant, and following recent completion of construction and relevant testing, is now operating as part of the wider water network.

SA Water’s Manager of Water Treatment and Quality, Andrew Prosser, said water storage capacity at the plant has increased from 12 to 42 million litres.

“Having more available storage means water from the plant can be supplied at a steadier rate to meet the needs of the network it feeds into,” Andrew said.

“The more consistent the flow within and out of the plant, the more control we have over operation of our treatment systems, which makes it easier to manage water quality.

“The treatment plant and network can essentially operate more independently of each other, which also gives our operators the ability to schedule energy intensive activities, like pumping, at times when electricity prices are favourable, instead of when the plant is running at a particular rate.

“We use pumps to move water from the plant and through the 358km Morgan to Whyalla Pipeline, which supplies safe, clean drinking water to more than 130,000 people from the state’s mid north all the way to central Eyre Peninsula.

“Operating our pumping systems based on anticipated electricity market price fluctuations can help to reduce our energy bill, and these savings will be passed onto our customers.”

Other key works undertaken as part of the project were the installation of a filter backwash tank and an additional 130m of underground pipework at the treatment plant site.

“This new infrastructure will help to ensure the filtration and disinfection stages in our water treatment process continue to be safe, efficient and can manage an expected increase in demand,” Andrew said.

“The plant treats raw water from the River Murray, which typically contains suspended dirt, organic material and microorganisms, so it goes through a number of processes to clean and treat it.

“This includes filtering to cleanse the water of fine particles, and the use of chloramine to disinfect it, which is needed to prevent microorganisms re-growing while the water flows through the long distribution pipeline.”

In 2018, the Morgan Water Treatment Plant produced more than 31 billion litres of water, which was around 40 per cent of what was supplied to the whole of regional South Australia.

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