As Warragamba Dam spills this week, Sydney’s Kurnell desalination plant still operates, even though the cost of its water is about seven times that of water sourced from dams and its greenhouse gas production is equivalent to an extra 53,000 cars.
This shows how bad decision-making can have long-term effects. Back in 05 it was revealed former premier Bob Carr was working for Macquarie Bank, which was behind one of the consortia hoping to build the plant. Late in his premiership he had announced plans to build the plant despite previously having decried desalination water as ‘bottled energy’.
The problem is that it is expensive to switch the thing on and off, even though utilities minister Carl Scully managed to delude himself that it could be. Consumers and the environment pay the price.
Meanwhile Rous Water continues to investigate desalination as an option for this region. As an elected member I am doing all I can to kill off this loopy idea, but the water industry is powerful and well connected, so the struggle goes on.
Richard Staples, Byron Shire councillor, Talofa