Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Perth's water supply more secure with opening of desalination plant

Media release
02 September 2011

Perth residents will benefit from a climate independent source of water now that the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant near Binningup is open.

Attending the official opening of the 50 gigalitre capacity first stage of the plant today, Parliamentary Secretary for Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell said the completion of the Western Australia's second major desalination plant will assist the state to meet its water security needs.

"The Australian Government contributed $18.4 million during initial construction of the plant to help ensure any future expansion is as cost-effective and efficient as possible," Senator Farrell said.

The Australian Government's investment - through its Water for the Future initiative - is funding infrastructure works including the installation of an additional seawater intake tunnel and the structure housing the seawater pumping station.

The completion of the 50 gigalitre per year first stage of the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant means that, on average, more than 30 per cent of Western Australia's urban water supply will come from climate independent sources. When the plant is expanded to 100 gigalitres per year, around half of Perth's water supply will come from desalination.

"Despite recent rainfall, the south-west corner of Western Australia continues to experience extremely low inflows," Senator Farrell said.

"The Australian Government is working with the Western Australian Government to ensure the security of water supplies for the residents of the South West. We are providing $140 million for water projects in Western Australia including desalination, waste water recycling, stormwater harvesting and reuse and water efficiency measures such as the showerhead swap and H2OmeSmart programs in Perth."

The Australian Government encourages state, territory and local governments to look at the full range of options for securing and augmenting water supplies. Our Water for the Future initiative is assisting communities across Australia to do that.

In June this year, a further $100 million in Australian Government funding was announced for a third round of stormwater harvesting and reuse grants. These grants will fund projects that help secure urban water supplies, ease pressure on drinking water and improve the quality of urban waterways.

The third stormwater funding round will close on 7 December 2011 at 5pm (AEDT). For further information please visit or telephone 1800 218 478 (toll free).