Hunter Water desalination plant plan for Belmont remains 'emergency measure'

A temporary water desalination plant at Belmont remains “an emergency measure”, Hunter Water says, despite the utility seeking planning approval for the project.

A Hunter Water spokesperson said the organisation did not plan to build the facility, but was obtaining planning approval so it was “ready for the worst” if a bad drought hit. She said the odds of having to use the plant were about 10,000 to one.

“Obtaining planning approvals for major infrastructure can be a lengthy process, which is why we have started now. Having approvals in place means we can construct the plant quickly, if required,” she said.

“It should be noted the temporary desalination plant is an emergency measure, rather than part of Hunter Water’s long term water resource planning.”

The plant would be the last resort if water saving measures such as a conservation awareness campaign, the relining of Black Hill Reservoir and increased recycling at wastewater treatment plants at Burwood Beach, Belmont and Boulder Bay failed.