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.

  • Industry and Business briefings

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    Northern Water will conduct an Industry Briefing and Business Briefing 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.

    Northern Water Industry Briefing (combined Event with Hydrogen Jobs Plan)

    • This is the primary industry briefing for the Northern Water project.
    • The Industry Briefing will be held in Whyalla, South Australia.
    • Presentations will be delivered by Northern Water, Office of Hydrogen Power and the Industry Capability Network (ICN).
    • The briefing will provide an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session.

    Industry Briefing Event Details:

    Date: 29 February 2024
    Time:
    9am - 1.30pm
    Location: Westland Hotel Motel (Convention Room)
    100 McDouall Stuart Avenue, Whyalla Norrie

    Register here


    Business Briefing – Tumby Bay

    • The Business Briefing will provide information to assist local businesses, local suppliers and wrap-around support services understand how they may be able to get involved and benefit from the Northern Water project. Information regarding potential project workforce opportunities will also be presented.
    • Presentation will be delivered by Northern Water and the Industry Capability Network (ICN).
    • The briefing will provide an opportunity to participate in a Q&A session.

    Tumby Bay Event Details:

    Date: 29 February 2024
    Time:
    7pm - 8.30pm
    Location: Tumby Bay Community Centre, 7 Bratten Rd, Tumby Bay

    Register here


  • Environmental Impact Statement formal studies begin

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    In late January, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was gazetted as the assessment level needed for the Northern Water project planning approvals.

    An EIS is the most stringent development assessment process in Australia.

    Work to prepare a comprehensive EIS including assessing and evaluating environmental, social, and economic benefits and impacts before formal referral to the federal government, and public notification of the outcome.

    Project Director; Mike Morgan said an important element of the EIS is to assess any potential impacts the project could have on the marine life at Cape Hardy.

    “A series of rigorous environmental investigations based on scientifically robust historical and current data, will guide an informed decision on whether to proceed with construction of the project,” he said.

    “Current studies include marine ecology surveys, marine water quality studies, flora and fauna surveys, underwater noise and vibration studies, and marine hydrodynamic modelling, and many others.

    “Scientists and technical experts will be on site and in the water over the coming months gathering this essential information to help inform the environmental assessments.

    “We’re committed to minimising the environmental impacts of the project, and this baseline data will play an important role in shaping the impact assessment, designing a sustainable long-term environmental monitoring program, and establishing benchmarks to ensure minimal environmental impacts.

    “Where impacts can’t be avoided, we’re actively exploring opportunities for offsetting or achieving a positive environmental impact,” said Mr Morgan.

    “Northern Water remains committed to ongoing community involvement in the project and fostering environmentally and socially responsible practices.

    “Cultural heritage and native title agreements with Traditional Owners will be a key part of project consent and the way the project can positively address the water needs of the region.”

    “It’s really important for us to hear the concerns and ideas of those who’ll benefit from or might be affected by the project. The best ways for people to share their thoughts is through our YourSAy page or by email,” said Mr Morgan.

    “And of course, people are welcome to stop by for a chat when they see us out and about in the community.”

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