Sleaford desalination plant to reduce water 'hardness'

SA Water plans to reduce Eyre Peninsula water ‘hardness’ with its proposed $80-million Sleaford Bay seawater desalination plant.

SA Water’s senior project manager Liam Threadgold and senior stakeholder engagement advisor Chloe Ringwood provided an update to the Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council on the project last month.

Ms Ringwood said the plant would aim to improve the region’s naturally occurring water ‘hardness’.

Although not a health hazard, hardness is where water has a high mineral content of predominantly calcium and magnesium ions and can leave a chalky residue.

While the project is still in the approval process and development assessment stages if and when it is approved the two to three gigalitre plant will take about 12 to 18 months to construct.

With the recent run of dry years, Mr Threadgold said the plant would secure water for the region and help supplement groundwater from the Uley South Basin.

“It’s not going to be an immediate issue, we’re doing something now to secure it for the future,” he said.

“It will likely improve water quality for everyone on the Eyre Peninsula.”

Ms Ringwood said about 100 people provided feedback and communities were ‘fairly positive’ and supportive of the project.

She said key concerns raised in the consultation were potential impacts to the marine environment, the visual amenity and noise, water quality, and heritage and environmental impacts.

Another possible site was considered at Cathedral Rocks, before the 60-hectare Sleaford Bay site was identified as the preferred location.

Ms Ringwood said the Sleaford Bay site was chosen for a number of reasons including its proximity to residential areas and water supply, minimised environmental impacts and strong ocean currents.

Mr Threadgold said any key concerns from the public could be addressed in the project’s construction and planning phases.