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Adelaide Desalination Plant

Why was the Adelaide Desalination Plant built?

The Adelaide Desalination Plant (ADP) was constructed as an insurance policy for urban water supplies to ensure that sufficient water is available to meet Adelaide’s needs in extremely dry years.

The plant was built on the back of the Millennium Drought to provide a climate-independent source of water, in addition to the state’s reservoirs and the River Murray.  The combination of these sources provides the necessary water security to underpin the state’s economic and population growth to 2050.

For more information on how the ADP works, visit SA Water.

How is the ADP factored into water allocation decisions?

The ADP makes a major difference to how SA Water's water is shared between all users of the SA River Murray in dry years. An additional 50 GL of available River Murray water is released to holders of irrigation licenses in dry years, which would not be possible without the insurance provided by the ADP.

Costs and benefits of running the Adelaide Desalination Plant

The South Australian Government commissioned an independent consultancy to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of using water from the ADP in the 2016-2017 water year to offset reductions in allocations to consumptive water entitlements.

The independent cost benefit study examined the likely increased costs and benefits of using additional water from the ADP to determine whether using more desalinated water to boost irrigators’ allocations in dry periods would provide an overall economic benefit to the state in the 2016-2017 water year.

The independent cost-benefit study was undertaken by Marsden Jacobs Associates.

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