Billy Lights Point preferred site for desalination plant


Billy Lights Point preferred site for desalination plant

With the South Australian government accepting SA Water’s preferred site of Billy Lights Points for a desalination plant for Eyre Peninsula, the utility will immediately commence planning and preparatory design, to ensure long-term drinking water security for the region.

This multi-million-dollar investment will provide a new reliable, climate-independent source of drinking water, to largely replace existing groundwater sources and the River Murray, and is critical to enabling economic growth.

SA Water’s Chief Executive David Ryan said Billy Lights Point is the best environmental, logistical and financially sustainable option to support the community.

“We know water security is a growing concern for the Eyre Peninsula, and this decision will give surety to local residents and enable businesses to invest with confidence,” David said.

“As part of the comprehensive site selection process – including with a community-led independent site selection committee – considerable research has been undertaken over several years, with investigations conducted into more than 15 potential locations.

“Billy Lights Point best meets all the criteria to deliver water security needs of the region now and into the future, and is the most cost-effective and timely water security solution for the people of Eyre Peninsula.

“Additionally, preliminary research reviewed by a world-renowned six-member Marine Science Review Panel confirmed that with the right design, a desalination plant at Billy Lights Point can be built without impacting the local marine environment.

“We acknowledge that some members of the community won’t agree with this decision, but we are committed to working with stakeholders – particularly the aquaculture industry – to design a plant that can co-exist with current operations in the inner bays.

“We sincerely thank the local community, including the members of the Site Selection Committee, for their considered contributions to date, which has further demonstrated the complexity and difficulties in finding a site that’s affordable, sustainable and has minimal impact to the natural environment.

“As acknowledged by the committee, a funding shortfall exists for its preferred site of Sleaford West, with pathways for additional funding not guaranteed and likely to add at least another 12 months to the process, before construction could even begin.

“No site considered was without issue, but we’re confident this decision is in the best interests of the Eyre Peninsula community and we encourage everyone to come with an open mind and take a fresh look at the facts in relation to Billy Lights Point.

“We will ensure the local community continues to be engaged and informed about this important project, and with up to 230 jobs expected to be created through the construction of this new facility, we will be looking for as many locals as possible to be involved.

“As the largest investment in water infrastructure in the region, this is an historic time for the Eyre Peninsula and will ensure it remains a great place to live, work and invest.”

Once operational, the plant will be able to produce up to 5.3 gigalitres of water per year, with the ability to scale up if required, adding significant capacity to the network to enable economic growth in the region.

The Government has also indicated Infrastructure SA will undertake a concurrent process to determine whether the Northern Water Supply project can meet supply needs for the Peninsula, and SA Water will continue to play a role in those discussions.

For up-to-date information on the Eyre Peninsula desalination project, visit





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