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Desalination in Victoria ensures our communities and businesses have the water we need now and into the future. The Millennium Drought highlighted the need for change in managing water in Victoria. We can avoid severe water restrictions when our water systems are less dependent on rainfall.

The Victorian Desalination Plant separates salts from seawater and produces high-quality drinking water. A transfer pipeline pumps the water into our catchments and supplies our growing population.

It makes Victoria more resilient in years of drought and better prepared for climate change.

Desalination essentials

Why is it important to have a mix of water sources?

The desalination plant can deliver up to one-third of Melbourne’s annual demand. The remaining two-thirds still needs to come from rainfall water held in our storages and supplemented with alternative sources, including rainwater, recycled water and stormwater.

The desalination plant helps take pressure off our dams during droughts and helps build a buffer for future droughts during wetter years.

The desalination plant was not built to be turned on just when our water supply reaches critical levels. Instead, it aims to help make sure that our water supply doesn’t fall to those levels in the first place.

How do we share water security across Victoria?

The desalination plant is connected to the Victorian water grid via a transfer pipeline.

As well as the connection to Melbourne’s system, the transfer pipeline has connection points for the 3 water corporations adjacent to the pipeline – South East Water, Westernport Water and South Gippsland Water. This enables Cowes, Wonthaggi, Korumburra, Poowong, Loch and Nyora to be supplied water from the Melbourne system or the desalination plant (subject to trades between water corporations).

Geelong has a share of water from the Melbourne system and, subject to trades between water corporations, can just as easily be supplied with desalinated water in the future. Read about the transfer pipeline and water grid.

Water orders

Each year, the government can give the desalination plant a water order. The water order describes how much water the desalination plant should produce. A flexible water order from 0 to 150 gigalitres (in set increments) is possible so we can adapt the order based on our needs.

The following table shows the orders that have been made for desalinated water since 2016 to 2017.

Supply periodYearThe volume of desalinated water ordered


2016 to 201750 GL
SP6 2017 to 201815 GL
SP72018 to 201915 GL
SP82019 to 2020125 GL
SP92020 to 2021125 GL
SP102021 to 2022125 GL
SP112022 to 202315 GL
SP122023 to 20240 GL

Desalination water order 2023 to 2024

On 1 April 2023, the Minister for Water announced that no water delivery was needed from the desalination plant during 2023 to 2024.

The desalination plant will remain in long-term preservation until the next water order is placed.

The desalination plant has delivered 455 GL since it was turned on in 2016 to 2017 and 23.9 GL during commissioning in 2012.

Contact information

The main point of contact for the Victorian Desalination Project is AquaSure's Community Information Line 1800 811 214.

Landowners, acquisition and compensation

Call DEECA on (03) 9948 2800.

Other environmental issues on public land

Call EPA Victoria on 1300 372 842.

Speakers and presentations

DEECA and AquaSure have representatives available to give presentations on the Victorian Desalination Project. Contact DEECA or AquaSure for a speaker to attend your school, community group, conference or forum.

Information on water in your area

Contact your water corporation.

Page last updated: 08/09/23