The State Government must ensure the Kurnell desalination plant only operates as a last resort option for Sydney’s water supply and should shift its focus to more sustainable water solutions in its review of the Metropolitan Water Strategy, says the state’s peak environment group.
“The Government must use this review as an opportunity to keep its promise that the desalination plant will only operate as a back-up water supply,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW executive director Cate Faehrmann said today.
“The Kurnell desalination plant is an expensive, energy hungry and environmentally destructive mistake.
“It will massively increase the state’s energy use, will adversely impact on marine environments around the plant, and it is significantly more expensive than other water supply options.
“The desalination plant’s upgrade from a short-term, ‘emergency’ water measure, combined with the recent relaxing of water restrictions, demonstrates the Government has drifted from a sustainable water agenda for NSW.
“To get back on track, the State Government must disengage from an overreliance on the desalination white elephant and weigh up all water supply options based on minimising environmental and economic costs, and maximising efficiency.
“Sydney should be looking at sustainable solutions, like water recycling, rainwater harvesting and greater water efficiency. It seems incredible that we still discharge millions of litres of freshwater out to sea and release treated wastewater into our rivers each year.
“The Nature Conservation Council urges the NSW Government to look beyond the false promise of the desalination plant and strongly consider a key role for more sustainable water supply alternatives, including improved water efficiency, as part of its Metropolitan Water Strategy due next year,” Ms Faehrmann said.