Another curious approval is that of the low lying desalination plant proposed for Wonthaggi. If it ever happens, it will supply Melbourne with 330 gigalitres of water a year and cost $3.1 billion (pre-blowout estimate). The plant will emit 945,000 tonnes CO2 a year, equal to putting another quarter of a million cars on the roads.
The discharge back into the sea will not only be super salty but will also contain various toxic additions such as anti-fouling agents like iron and aluminum chloride, as well as chlorine used to flush the pipes. The inlet pipe will exclude larger marine life but could end up sucking in and destroying important populations of sea creatures at their egg and larval stages.
If, in a good year, Melbourne doesn’t need to take the water, we still have to pay for it under the contract negotiated. The water would be processed and then pumped back into the ocean.