The construction of Kangaroo Island’s new seawater desalination plant has achieved a significant milestone with the completion of the first major concrete pour at the site, more than 70m of temporary causeway is in place as crews to lay the new intake and outfall pipes, as part of broader marine works.

The new two megalitre a day capacity desalination plant at Penneshaw will supplement the smaller existing nearby facility and Middle River Reservoir, providing greater water security and bushfire resilience for the Island.

Marine works began in January 2023 to set up a temporary causeway off the coast of the desalination plant, to enable 107m of trenching for the new intake and outfall pipes. The pipes have been prepared in Kingscote and will soon be floated by barge to Penneshaw before being secured in place, with this stage of works expected to take several months to complete.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Capital Delivery, Peter Seltsikas, said around 245m³ of concrete has been poured at the plant site so far.

“Having spent recent months undertaking earthworks to prepare the site for construction, getting the plant’s concrete base in the ground is an exciting step for this important project,” Mr Seltsikas said.

“With the first pour now on the books, further on-site concreting works for the site’s surge vessel and other plant infrastructure is set to take place late 2023.”

The achievement coincides with the installation of a 14km section of trunk main between Pelican Lagoon and Haines, which once operational, will deliver safe, clean drinking water from Penneshaw to homes and businesses in American River, Baudin Beach, Island Beach and Sapphiretown.

“This marks the completion of almost half of a sizeable 33km underground trunk main along Hog Bay Road, including the installation of 36 fireplugs,” Mr Seltsikas said.

“We are now in the process of completing routine hydrotesting of the pipe to ensure it’s ready for action to transport the plant’s first delivery of safe, clean drinking water in 2024.”

SA Water’s recent community drop-in sessions provided the opportunity for prospective customers to finalise their interest in connecting to the network, with more than 30 people meeting with the team to complete the application process or ask questions about the project’s next steps.

“This is an important project for Kangaroo Island, which will deliver a climate-independent source of drinking water, and we will continue working closely with the community as we make further progress towards first water from mid-2024,” Mr Seltsikas said.

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