Our water sources: Desalination (video transcript)

In Western Australia we have two desalination plants - a sustainable and climate independent water source, by 2013 they will provide almost one half of Perth's drinking water supply. This is a transcript of our animated video, 'Desalination in WA' which explains the process.

[Background music]

[Voiceover]: Fresh Water Thinking is producing fresh drinking water from the sea.

We may not have much rain in Perth but we do have lots of water around us. The question is, how can this never-ending resource be used to supplement our water supply? One way is through desalination.

Desalination removes salt and impurities from seawater, and makes it suitable for drinking. As a sustainable and climate-independent water source, desalination will help ensure WA has sufficient supplies of drinking water as we head into the future.

Let's take a closer look at how it works.

First, the sea water goes through a pre-treatment filter to remove the larger particles. Next, under very high pressure, it is forced through a fine membrane removing salts and impurities – this is called 'reverse osmosis'. At this stage, all the seawater concentrate is returned to the sea.

The water is then treated so that it’s ready to drink. Almost 40% of Perth’s water need is supplied by desalination.

And the cost of this process?

It takes the same amount of energy to desalinate a day's worth of water for a family of 4 as it does to run a basic air conditioner for an hour.

Our two desalination plants – at Kwinana and Binningup – have the capacity to supply almost half of Perth’s water needs. That’s about 150 billion litres a year.

All from a source that will never, ever run dry. Now that’s Fresh Water Thinking!