YES OR NO?
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
Possible evnvironmental concerns
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.