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Discussions are continuing between SA Water and the Kangaroo Island community regarding plans for a new seawater desalination plant in Penneshaw.

The discussions are also covering opportunities for more than 1,000 residents in four local towns to connect to the local drinking water network and receive supply from the plant.

Information sessions are being held in American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown, and follow face-to-face and online meetings late last year with the wider Kangaroo Island community and businesses interested in helping deliver the project.

SA Water’s General Manager of Strategy, Engagement and Innovation, Anna Jackson, said water produced from the new plant will supplement the existing Penneshaw facility and Middle River Reservoir, and through a connected large underground pipeline, will also provide capacity to service additional properties.

“We want to hear from residents in American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown – who currently rely on private rainwater tanks or water carters for their drinking water – to determine their interest in connecting to this new part of the network and receiving a safe, reliable and affordable water supply,” Ms Jackson said.

“Their feedback will help identify where the new large water pipeline, along with smaller connecting reticulation mains, will be laid.

“As planning for the project progresses, we’ll keep these residents updated, along with the wider local community and key interest groups like the Kangaroo Island Council and various progress associations.

“To inform the exact location of the new desalination plant and ensure we’re able to protect and preserve the surrounding natural environment both during construction and once the plant is operational, we’re also carrying out environment and geotechnical investigations in the Penneshaw area.

“The new plant will be built in the vicinity of the existing 400 kilolitre a day desalination facility at Penneshaw, which has been supplying water since 1999.”

State and Federal Government funding was confirmed in 2020 for the $47.8 million project, which through an additional climate-independent supply of drinking water, aims to improve water security for local residents and businesses, and support the island’s tourism and agriculture industries.

Subject to required development and environmental approvals, the new 700 megalitre per year desalination plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

For more information on the project, visit watertalks.sawater.com.au.

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