The pre-constructed desalination facility, Oodnadatta

Works for Ooodnatta’s new desalination plant are now underway, following months of concreting and other site earthworks, as part of SA Water’s commitment to delivering a new, high-quality drinking water supply for the township. 

The small-scale reverse osmosis desalination facility, which will produce around 200,000 litres of drinking water for local customers each day, is now in place at the site on Kurka Drive.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Infrastructure, Planning and Strategy, Dr Daniel Hoefel, said the milestone marks another achievement in delivering a new drinking water supply for the remote township.

“Our team has spent more than two years undertaking the extensive planning, assessments and approvals required to deliver a project of this size and complexity, such as technical and engineering designs, community engagement, delivery contractor engagement and procurement,” Dr Hoefel said.

“This also included the fabrication and testing of the containerised plant in metropolitan Adelaide over many months before recently making the 1,000km+ journey to Oodnadatta.

“Sourcing water from the Great Artesian Basin, the new plant will use a technology called reverse osmosis to remove naturally occurring impurities like high levels of salinity, which are commonly found in many of Australia’s inland groundwater sources.”

Dr Hoefel said the resulting high-quality tap water will then be delivered to local households and businesses, with the saline by-product to be piped to a 200m-long onsite evaporation basin.

“Despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on supply chains and localised flooding temporarily disrupting works for the project, we’re on track to switch on Oodnadatta’s new supply by mid-2023.

“This is an exciting project that will make a significant difference to the daily lives of our local customers, and we look forward to delivering this project with the Oodnadatta community.”

SA Water’s existing network in Oodnadatta is designated as non-drinking with appropriate precautions and advice in place, and until upgrades are complete, residents will continue to source their own drinking water from private rainwater tanks, water carting, bottled products, and localised desalination units.

Progress is also being made on the delivery of desalination facilities in the remote townships of Marla and Marree, to be delivered over the course of the 2020-24 regulatory period.

Featured image: The pre-constructed desalination facility, Oodnadatta. Image: SA Water.

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