In 2007 the State Government announced plans to develop a desalination plant on Victoria's south-east coast, near Wonthaggi. The project received Federal Government approval on March 20 and is due for completion in 2011.

The facts

The Government has opted for a reverse osmosis desalination plant as part of its plan to drought proof Melbourne. As desalination requires seawater rather than rainfall, it will generate 150 billion litres of additional water each year - a third of Melbourne's annual water supply. It will be the largest plant of its kind in Australia.

Estimated to cost more than $3 billion, the plant will be built and operated as a public-private partnership, or PPP. This means the Government will work in partnership with a company or group of companies from the private sector.

An environment effects statement assessed the potential environmental impacts of the proposed development. Approval was given with some conditions.

Potential economic benefits

It will significantly help australia with its summer drought problems. We will not have to spend more money and more time building nex drains to import more water. This water will also make a massive different in summer when we need to prepare our rural and bush areas for fire season.

Possible evnvironmental concerns

Critics say desalination is not the answer to Victoria's water problems and should be considered only as a last resort. They say it's too expensive, and that its high energy demands will severely hamper efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They question the sense of increasing carbon emissions when climate change appears to be reducing rainfall.
They say the Government's choice of desalination was made too hastily, and seemed predetermined; and that cheaper, more sustainable alternatives were not fully explored. These include recycling, storm-water collection, domestic rainwater tanks, and the repair of leaky infrastructure.
Some have criticised the scope of the environment effects statement and are concerned about the effects of chemical and salt (brine) discharge on marine life and wetlands.

How would this economic decision be made?

The decision must depend on the economy of the time that the decision is made. The decision would have to consider how it would effect the environment, there would be various consoltations from large groups of people involved in the government. it would involve any of the ministers in charge of the environment, resource management and the state leader at the time which was Steve Bracks.

Personal opinion

Personally i think this development is a good idea because it will supply vitcoria with a lot more water which is greatly needed during the dry seasons.