New plan to secure Kangaroo Island’s water needs

Kangaroo Island

A new plan to secure the long-term water supply for Kangaroo Island in South Australia will see another desalination plant installed at Penneshaw.

The plan confirms the existing Middle River and Penneshaw networks have adequate capacity to meet current needs and sustain organic growth until around 2036, unless a major development accelerates a step-change in water demand.

Under an organic growth scenario, development of the new water source will likely be actioned from 2030.

Created in 2009 and reviewed annually, SA Water’s Long-term Plan for Kangaroo Island’s water supply underwent a significant refresh over 2018, to reflect the most up-to-date weather and climatic data, water supply and demand projections, and community priorities.

SA Water General Manager Communications and Engagement, Anna Jackson, said community participation had been vital in reaching this outcome.

“A productive and respectful relationship with the Kangaroo Island community was key to gathering insights and refreshing the plan, and we will continue to work together on its delivery,” Ms Jackson said.

“Interest in the planning process was strong, with 18 community, business and industry associations coming together to work as our reference group, and more than 160 others attending eight drop-in sessions.

“Around 70 ideas were collected from the community before being explored in detail, reviewed and ranked by our reference group, with the preferred option then put to the wider community for feedback.”

Working together with the reference group, a multi criteria analysis process was used to assess potential options against environment, social, economic and technology considerations to arrive at the most sustainable and practical solution.

“Building extra desalination capacity in future will provide a climate-independent water source for our customers on Kangaroo Island, while also helping to support the water needs that enable both economic and social growth,” Ms Jackson said.

“The plan contemplates a 25-year outlook, but it’s by no means static — we operate in a complex and changing environment and must constantly review what we’re doing to ensure it’s delivering for our customers.

“The reference group gave a significant amount of their time to start learning about the factors influencing the way we provide water services, and I’d like to sincerely thank them for getting involved and being so passionate throughout the process.”

SA Water currently operates two water supply systems for customers on Kangaroo Island — the Middle River, which supplies an average of 356 million litres of water across 1500 customer connections, and the 400 kilolitre per day capacity Penneshaw Desalination Plant for approximately 300 customers on the eastern end of the Island.

In time, expanded desalination capacity at Penneshaw could serve the entire island and provide additional benefits including options for new areas to connect to SA Water’s network.

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