Cleared farm land behind coastal dunes and Williamsons Beach in Gippsland is the site of Victoria’s desalination plant.
The Wonthaggi site was chosen after a feasibility study reduced nine possible sites to four short-listed locations:
- Bass Coast – Wonthaggi. .
- eastern shore of Port Phillip Bay
- Surf Coast
- western shore of Western Port.
The Wonthaggi site was selected because of:
- suitable connections to Victoria’s water infrastructure
- access to open ocean water for intake of quality source water, and
- freely circulating ocean water for rapid dispersal of saline concentrate.
The site offers easy access to the open ocean of Bass Strait for water intake, and circulating water that will disperse concentrate.
Located to the east of Melbourne, the Bass Coast is well positioned to link into Victoria’s water grid, which generally moves water from our catchments in the east to cities and towns in the west.
Sites on the bays were rejected because of lower source water quality and potential issues with discharge into relatively poor circulating waters.
In addition, the Western Port site would potentially impact on internationally significant Ramsar-listed wetlands.
Surf Coast sites would have required significant and expensive infrastructure upgrades to transfer water to the city.