Water Desalination Plant

Expensive desal costs Melbourne households

01 April 2022

The Andrews Labor Government is forcing more costs onto Melburnians by ordering desal water when it is not needed. 

A 15GL water order will be placed in 2022-23 at a cost of $11 million, which the Government has misleadingly claimed won’t be passed on to Melbourne water customers.

Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan said the Andrews Government has now spent more than $200 million on desalinated water that Victoria did not need.

“Any way you look at it, this is forcing unnecessary costs onto Melburnians,” Ms Ryan said. 

“If there’s enough revenue in the water authorities to be placing these orders, it means they are charging customers too much.

“Anything the State Labor Government spends on water is money that should be used to reduce Melburnians’ water bills again this year.

“Unnecessary costs are the last thing Victorians need when they are struggling to recover and rebuild after lockdowns.”

Ms Ryan said Melbourne’s water storages would still be rated as secure without any of the water Labor had ordered from the desal plant since it began using it in 2017.  

“If elected in November, the Liberals and Nationals will stop the government waste with our commitment not to order from the desal plant unless storages fall below secure levels of 60 per cent full,” Ms Ryan said.

The cost of desalinated water has risen astronomically in the past few years.

Labor has placed a 125GL order each year for the past three years, at a cost of $63 million in 2019-20. By 2021-22, that cost had increased to $77 million.

Through the peak usage summer period, Victoria’s above average rainfall in the past year pushed Melbourne’s dams above 90 per cent capacity – the highest level since the 1990s.

Ms Ryan said the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting another wet year.

“Melbourne’s water storages were so full last year some storages were at risk of spill, which means water we’ve paid for just flows back out to sea,” Ms Ryan said.

“This is a politically-motivated attempt by Labor to justify the desal plant, not secure Melbourne’s water supply.”

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