A FAULT at the Wonthaggi desalination plant has forced operators to resort to a back-up power supply in the push to meet the plant’s first water order.
At least 30 diesel generators have been trucked to the plant over the past week, in an attempt to deliver the State Government’s water order of 50GL by June 30.
In December 2016, a faulty power cable interrupted operations, and threatened Aquasure’s plan to deliver $3.5 billion water order.
Under the multi-billion dollar desal contract, if the water doesn’t flow by the deadline then Aquasure could stand to lose $27 million paid for the order.
However, with water storage levels currently sitting at over 67 per cent capacity, many people are questioning whether the water order is even required.
Bass MP Brian Paynter said it was clearly a ridiculous situation for the State Government to waste millions of dollars on water from the desalination plant that it obviously did not need this year.
He called on the government to come clean with the power situation at the Wonthaggi plant and why it was necessary for the operators to be moving a large number of diesel generators into position to power the plant.
Committee member for Watershed Victoria, Stephen Cannon, said that it was a futile endeavour to push forth with the non-essential water order.
“If as reported the incoming power supply cable is unserviceable and diesel generators are to be needed to meet the 50GL order, it makes no sense at all to run these with their attendant greenhouse gases, noise and community risks such as trucking in the massive volume of diesel fuel, to supply non-essential water,” Mr Cannon said.
“There must be an opportunity to forego the order and release Aquasure from supplying, to save the diesel generation and enormous costs entailed, release the public from unnecessary expenditure reportedly amounting to $27 million which can be used for badly needed community facilities in Bass Coast or elsewhere, and keep our Bass Coast community clean and safe.
“A win-win-win for all should be possible. ‘Heads in the sand’ won’t do.”
CEO of Aquasure, Matt Brassington, said that the generators would be a temporary solution, only to be used if repairs take longer than planned.
“We do not anticipate that it will be required,” he said.
Desal diesel desperation