THE Wonthaggi Desalination Plant will pump out 125GL of water in 2021-22.

The state government, in announcing it had made the order, said it forecasted an order of 150GL, but scaled it back following high rainfall in key catchments which helped boost Melbourne’s water storages to 72 per cent.

The order won’t result in any increase to typical water bills for Melbourne households, the government said.

In deciding the size of the order, Acting Minister for Water Richard Wynne considered current water storage conditions, projected water demands, future climate conditions, risk of system spill and the balance between securing supply and keeping bills stable.

“With predicted drier conditions ahead and the underlying trend of declining storage levels, this order will help build a storage buffer to prepare Victoria for drier years to come,” the government said.

“The Victorian Desalination plant underpins water security for Melbourne and surrounding regions including Geelong and Ballarat.”

More than 300GL of desalinated water has been produced and delivered to the Melbourne system since the first order for water from the desalination plant was placed in 2016.

“The desalination plant is becoming more and more critical to Victoria’s water security with average rainfall continuing to fall and demand outstripping rainfall by more than 70 gigalitres a year — this gap is set to grow by another 10 gigalitres every year as the population grows and the climate continues to dry.”

Acting Minister for Water Richard Wynne said: “We need to build a buffer to make sure storages don’t reach critically low levels. Desal makes sure we can do that without water restrictions.

“Water bills will not increase due to this water order. There will be no additional charges for this year’s water order passed on to consumers.

“We are using more water and demand is outstripping supply. The desal plant makes up the difference, ensuring we have enough water to meet growing demand.”