Small-scale, temporary desalination units could be installed as a contingency measure to supplement water supplies during a very severe drought. The units would only be installed in a rare event, and would be removed when no longer required.
Desalination is a process of producing fresh water by removing dissolved solids (mostly salts) from a water source such as seawater, estuarine water, treated wastewater, or brackish groundwater. Desalination produces high quality water without relying on rainfall, so it is resilient to drought and climate change.
The use of portable, temporary desalination units, installed as late as possible, is one way of diversifying the lower Hunter’s water supply sources, and reducing the risk of running out of water in an extreme drought.
Temporary desalination plants provide an emergency response for a very extreme drought. By planning in advance with ‘readiness activities’ such as site selection studies and environmental investigations, these small units can be installed quickly if and when needed. The units would be removed when no longer required.