A $200 million desalination plant at Belmont is one step closer to reality after the state government granted the project planning approval.
The proposed facility will be built next to the Belmont Wastewater Treatment Works at Nine Mile Beach, and when completed will have the capacity to produce up to 30 million litres per day of fresh drinking water.
The plant will help shore up water supply for the region, giving Hunter Water an additional source of safe and reliable drinking water during periods of low rainfall and severe drought.
“Desalination is one of only a few water supply options that is rainfall independent, helping us to continue to support our customers and communities regardless of changes in weather or climate,” said Managing Director Darren Cleary.
“The Lower Hunter community gained a sense of what a prolonged and severe drought would be like when we all experienced the most recent drought through 2019-2020, which saw the introduction of water restrictions for the first time in many decades.”
The planning approval confirms the facility will pipe seawater from a kilometre offshore, with comprehensive investigations confirming the potential environmental impacts can be mitigated through detailed design and delivery.
Hunter Water is finalising a review of the region’s Water Security Plan, including extra measures to ensure the Lower Hunter’s supply network can cater for growth and respond to the impacts of drought and climate changes.
The draft plan will be released for public comment on Monday, August 9.