An order of 125 gigalitres of water from the Desalination Plant in Wonthaggi has been announced for the 2019/20 year.
This just-announced order will boost storages after an extremely dry spring and summer.
This is the largest order yet for the Plant and is necessary to prevent Melbourne’s water storages dropping to a point where they pose a significant risk to water security.
Melbourne’s water storage levels recently dropped to less than 55 per cent and would be below 50 per cent if not for the previous desalination orders.
The order is designed to protect Victoria’s water supply as the state experiences its lowest water levels since the Millennium Drought in 2011. This is as a result of an extreme dry season, the effects of climate change, the threat of bushfires to catchment areas, and a rising population. Melbourne’s water storages have had below average rainfall inflows in 18 of the past 20 years while population has grown by 1.4 million.
The cost to customers for this essential order has been minimised to an estimated $10 across a year’s worth of bills. That’s an average of the cost of a cup of coffee per water bill.
Desalination can supply up to one-third of Melbourne’s annual water needs. The Plant is also providing water supplies to Geelong, South Gippsland and more across the state.