Northern Water

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Exploring a new secure and sustainable water supply for the future.

What's being decided/considered?

Northern Water is investigating the option of a seawater desalination plant in the Spencer Gulf at Cape Hardy. The desalination plant would be connected to the Upper Spencer Gulf and northern South Australia via approximately 600km of pipeline.

Aimed at addressing the limited sustainable water supplies in the Far North and Upper Spencer Gulf Regions of South Australia, and encouraging growth of the industries crucial to achieving net-zero goals, including the emerging clean energy and hydrogen industries, Northern Water would provide a climate-independent water source.

The map below illustrates the proposed project pipeline.

During 2024 - 2025 we will undertake a range of project planning, design and assessment activities to understand potential project opportunities, benefits, impacts and costs.

Activities will include:

  • Formal tender process and development of agreed contract terms with a preferred contractor to design, build, operate and maintain the plant and pipeline
  • More detailed evaluation of the overall environmental, social and economic impact of the project
  • Progression of Cultural Heritage Survey and Native Title negotiations
  • Land access negotiations for the plant and pipeline
  • Ongoing engagement with stakeholders and the community to ensure risks and opportunities are properly understood and addressed
  • Other activities required to provide Government with clear understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with the project.

The project team is seeking feedback from the community, stakeholders, landowners, and traditional owners to inform the assessment process and assist in making a final decision on the project.

Your feedback will help identify management measures to reduce risk and enhance local community benefits.

Background

An extensive site selection process commenced in 2022, which included input from key stakeholders, technical investigations, and a formal multi-criteria-assessment (MCA) process.

Three sites were initially short listed (at Crag Point, Port Lowly and at Mullaquana Station), with Mullaquana Station best performing in the initial MCA scoring process. In mid-2023 a fourth site at Cape Hardy was added to the short list following additional industry interest that would reduced the financial impacts of constructing the plant so far south in the Spencer Gulf making it a potentially feasible option.

Early engagement with key stakeholders was favourable towards Cape Hardy as a potential site for the desalination plant and a supplementary MCA process was undertaken for the Cape Hardy site in mid-2023. This identified Cape Hardy as the best performing site across the four options considered.

We consulted with the local community and stakeholders regarding the outcomes of the MCA and most people indicated their support of Cape Hardy as the better site to focus on for further study.

We presented the MCA result and the stakeholders and community feedback to the South Australian Government to help inform the selection of a preferred study site for further investigations.

To learn more, visit:

Get involved

The Northern Water team is committed to transparent and two-way engagement with stakeholders and the wider community as part of the Planning and Assessment phase.

For more information: 

Get involved:

  • subscribe to project updates
  • email your feedback to the project team northernwater@sa.gov.au

  • call the Northern Water project team on 08 8429 4650

What are the next steps?

We will publish project updates and local community engagement opportunities throughout 2024-2025 on this page. via the news feed tool below. To receive email updates at significant project points please subscribe to the project.

If a final investment decision to proceed with the Northern Water project is made, the earliest that water would be available for use is in 2028.

Exploring a new secure and sustainable water supply for the future.

What's being decided/considered?

Northern Water is investigating the option of a seawater desalination plant in the Spencer Gulf at Cape Hardy. The desalination plant would be connected to the Upper Spencer Gulf and northern South Australia via approximately 600km of pipeline.

Aimed at addressing the limited sustainable water supplies in the Far North and Upper Spencer Gulf Regions of South Australia, and encouraging growth of the industries crucial to achieving net-zero goals, including the emerging clean energy and hydrogen industries, Northern Water would provide a climate-independent water source.

The map below illustrates the proposed project pipeline.

During 2024 - 2025 we will undertake a range of project planning, design and assessment activities to understand potential project opportunities, benefits, impacts and costs.

Activities will include:

  • Formal tender process and development of agreed contract terms with a preferred contractor to design, build, operate and maintain the plant and pipeline
  • More detailed evaluation of the overall environmental, social and economic impact of the project
  • Progression of Cultural Heritage Survey and Native Title negotiations
  • Land access negotiations for the plant and pipeline
  • Ongoing engagement with stakeholders and the community to ensure risks and opportunities are properly understood and addressed
  • Other activities required to provide Government with clear understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with the project.

The project team is seeking feedback from the community, stakeholders, landowners, and traditional owners to inform the assessment process and assist in making a final decision on the project.

Your feedback will help identify management measures to reduce risk and enhance local community benefits.

Background

An extensive site selection process commenced in 2022, which included input from key stakeholders, technical investigations, and a formal multi-criteria-assessment (MCA) process.

Three sites were initially short listed (at Crag Point, Port Lowly and at Mullaquana Station), with Mullaquana Station best performing in the initial MCA scoring process. In mid-2023 a fourth site at Cape Hardy was added to the short list following additional industry interest that would reduced the financial impacts of constructing the plant so far south in the Spencer Gulf making it a potentially feasible option.

Early engagement with key stakeholders was favourable towards Cape Hardy as a potential site for the desalination plant and a supplementary MCA process was undertaken for the Cape Hardy site in mid-2023. This identified Cape Hardy as the best performing site across the four options considered.

We consulted with the local community and stakeholders regarding the outcomes of the MCA and most people indicated their support of Cape Hardy as the better site to focus on for further study.

We presented the MCA result and the stakeholders and community feedback to the South Australian Government to help inform the selection of a preferred study site for further investigations.

To learn more, visit:

Get involved

The Northern Water team is committed to transparent and two-way engagement with stakeholders and the wider community as part of the Planning and Assessment phase.

For more information: 

Get involved:

  • subscribe to project updates
  • email your feedback to the project team northernwater@sa.gov.au

  • call the Northern Water project team on 08 8429 4650

What are the next steps?

We will publish project updates and local community engagement opportunities throughout 2024-2025 on this page. via the news feed tool below. To receive email updates at significant project points please subscribe to the project.

If a final investment decision to proceed with the Northern Water project is made, the earliest that water would be available for use is in 2028.

  • Snapper and King George Whiting findings are in!

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    Snapper and King George Whiting findings are in!

    A study commissioned by Northern Water to investigate the potential impact of the project on Snapper and King George Whiting life cycles is now complete.

    A report detailing the results of the study was presented last week and concluded that there is a low to very low likelihood of impact to either species from the planned desalination plant at Cape Hardy.

    This is good news for the fish and good news for Northern Water.

    The study investigated the life cycles of Snapper and King George Whiting from spawning to egg and larval dispersal, recruitment areas, and adult movement and habitats concluding the overall risk should be considered as low.

    Experienced marine scientist, Dr Troy Roger, under the direction of Dr Mike Steer, Research Director, SARDI Aquatic and Livestock Sciences carried out this research and analysis before presenting the report to Northern Water.

    The report summary is available here

  • Business briefings and drop ins

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    Northern Water will conduct Business Briefing and Drop In sessions for industry, businesses, suppliers and parties with an interest in participation in the project.

    The purpose of the briefings will be to provide information about the Northern Water project and the opportunities it presents. The briefings will provide an opportunity to engage during the planning phase of the project to enhance your knowledge and strategies to support your potential participation in Northern Water.

    The briefings will provide information relevant to business and industry across sectors and supply chains, including the broad range of expected wrap around services to support the successful delivery of the Northern Water project.

    Port Lincoln Business Briefing:
    Beer Garden Brewing
    28 London Street, Port Lincoln
    Date: Thursday 4th July 2024
    Time: 2.30pm-4.30pm

    Register for the Port Lincoln Briefing

    Cleve Drop In:
    Cleve Hotel Motel
    32 Fourth Street, Cleve SA
    Date: Wednesday 3rd July 2024
    Time: 2:30pm – 4:30pm

    Cummins Drop In:
    Cummins Hotel
    36/38 Railway Tce, Cummins SA
    Date: Wednesday 3rd July 2024
    Time: 9:30am-11:30am



  • $65 million Commonwealth funding contribution

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    The Commonwealth Government has announced funding contribution of $65 million towards the planning and assessment phase of the Northern Water project. This will support activities such as the environmental impact investigations, continued engagement with landholders and traditional owners, design and commercial negotiations to ensure the best outcome. These activities will ultimately inform the project Final Investment Decision expected in mid-2026.

    Funding was provided under the Commonwealth’s Future Made in Australia policy, focusing on water to unlock the potential of our Eyre Peninsula, Upper Spencer Gulf and Far North resources and build a net-zero carbon emissions South Australia.

  • Career Expo Roadshow

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    We are looking forward to being at the regional Careers Expo Roadshow, informing future generations about jobs critical in a project like Northern Water. This is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the various skills and professions projects like ours require. The job and career pathways are endless – encourage your high school aged children to come and find out more about the career options they could pursue, parents can also attend the public session in Port Lincoln on 5 June.

    • Tuesday 21 May, 10am – 2pm – Kadina, Copper Coast Sport and Leisure Centre
    • Wednesday 22 May, 10am – 2pm - Port Pirie, Northern Festival Centre
    • Thursday 23 May, 10am – 2pm – Port Augusta, Central Oval
    • Wednesday 5 June, 3.30pm – 6.30pm, Port Lincoln Hotel
  • Geotech and cadastral survey are underway

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    Geotech

    Geotechnical investigations (Geotech) have started. Geotech helps us understand the ground conditions to inform the project design. You might see our geo-technicians out in the field completing this important work.

    Most of these works will be conducted within the project corridor or in road reserves, so road users are unlikely to be impacted by these works.

    Geotech investigations are expected to continue up to the end of 2024.


    Cadastral survey

    Our surveying contractor will be on site from late May 2024 undertaking ground truthing of property boundary data (cadastral survey) at various locations along the project area.

    Most works are carried out in road reserves, meaning there will likely be no impact on traffic.

    Surveyors collect information on-site using electronic equipment. As the survey is to confirm property boundaries, the reference markers you may see on the ground do not necessarily correspond to areas impacted by the project’s final design.

  • Have you seen Our Model?

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    Have you seen the Norther Water animation?

    The 3D animation is a short video of the reference design. The reference design forms the basis of our environmental approvals.



  • Northern Water Community Grants now open

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    Northern Water has launched a new Community Grants program!

    Open now we’re calling for submissions focusing on local community capacity building and regional enhancement.

    All eligible individuals, organisations and associations who share common values, with drive and vision to enhance the social, environmental and economic outcomes in regional communities in the Upper Spencer Gulf, Eyre Peninsula and far North of South Australia can apply.

    Northern Water is pleased to play a role in creating a lasting positive legacy for local communities!

    Please spread the word among the community - friends, colleagues, and associates.

    Round One has kicked off with grants of up to $5,000 and $10,000 available now.

    Each quarter, another $30,000 round will become available.

    We are building more than just an infrastructure project, we're supporting local communities in building a stronger future for the region.

    Round One applications must be submitted by 6pm 31 May 2024.

    To find out more head to northernwater.sa.gov.au/grants


    Sponsorships

    Northern Water is also seeking sponsorship opportunities. Please forward your sponsorship prospectus to northernwater@sa.gov.au

  • Come and meet our team!

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    In the coming weeks we are embarking on our Community Conversations sessions where you can come and meet our team, learn more about our project and tell us what is most important to you.

    During our Community Conversations, we’ll discuss our methodologies, with a focus on marine studies, project design and social impact, and share ideas together.

    The initial sessions will be in Port Neill and Tumby Bay, with further session locations to come.

    Register to join us, click here

    Looking forward to seeing you there!

  • Public Consultation on EPBC referral

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    The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) is now undertaking formal public consultation on the Northern Project prior to the Minister for the Environment and Water (Cwth) determining what further assessment is required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

    The consultation closes on 21 March 2024. The project Name in the Referral is Northern Water Desalination and Pipeline Infrastructure Project and the reference number is 2023/09717. You can access the DCCEEW portal here.

  • Northern Water Business Case Summary Released

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    On 22 February 2024 the Northern Water Business Case Summary was released to the public.

    The Business Case Summary outlines the proposal, the site selection process, economic assessment, commercial model, delivery strategy and funding requirements and is now available to view and download here.

    Northern Water is expected to create over 4,200 jobs and an average annual $5.2bn boost to the South Australian economy. The 260 megalitre desalination plant and 600km pipeline network to the State’s north would create a reliable water supply to enable the tripling of copper production as well as kickstarting hydrogen and green iron operations.

    The initial stage of the project is estimated to cost about $5bn, with the cost being recouped via commercial water supply agreements.

    Delivery of the project is to be via a design, build, operate and maintain (DBOM) model to deliver maximum speed, flexibility and cost certainty.

    A Final Investment Decision (FID) is expected in the first half of 2026 following the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process.

Page last updated: 02 Jul 2024, 03:06 PM