Engineer Says Deep Aquifers in Port Lincoln Area Show Promise as Second Water Supply | Port Lincoln weather


Following the announcement of the new desalination site, Darryl Bothe of AquaterreX, a water supply company, suggested that SA Water consider other alternatives.

“We specialize in deep water research,” he said.

“DSW is high quality groundwater, typically sourced from deeper aquifers located below shallow aquifers.

“Since taking over as Managing Director of AquaterreX in April 2020, I have asked our technical team to pay attention to the Eyre Peninsula and see if there is any deep water.

“Although our investigation is preliminary, there are some very good indicators to be able to tap into certain deep aquifers to supplement the supply to Port Lincoln.”

Mr Bothe said the technology to locate deep aquifers has not been available so far, but he believes it could be “significant amounts” of good quality groundwater “that have not been available. not previously explored or exploited in the history of Port Lincoln ”.

“Port Lincoln is my hometown,” he said.

“From 2003 to 2006 I ran my own business in Port Lincoln as a pump engineer and was hired by the Port Lincoln Council to maintain the storm water pumps at Liverpool Street and Le Brun Street. .. at a time when it was feared that there would be a shortage of drinking water by around 2025.

“Although I am currently based in Adelaide, I still have a passion for Port Lincoln and I want to see it blossom in all its beauty.”

Mr Bothe said two sites drilled at the Buckleboo station produced two supplies – one in large quantity and good for reserve water because it is still slightly saline, but the other of high quality and can be used immediately for human consumption.

“The important point of this is that the generally accepted opinion is that there is no good quality groundwater in this region – however, we have proven otherwise,” he said.

However, searching for deep water is not the only option offered by Mr Bothe, and also suggests that cleaning the Tod reservoir of the high salinity and other chemicals present with a specialized agent could restore the reservoir.

“It is my personal opinion that leaving the Tod River Reservoir in this state of high chemical and salt content is an environmental crime and should be cleaned up whether or not it can be reused as a water supply or not. potable water for Port Lincoln, ”he said.

“I concede that the salinity would probably still require the use of a desalination process, but I would expect there to be less hypersaline waste because the salinity levels are significantly lower than in water from sea.

“If a complete wetland soaking system were implemented upstream of the reservoir, I think future salt and chemical infiltration should be kept to a minimum. ”

Mr Bothe said that although all investigations are preliminary and no cost estimate has been made, he believed it would be “money well spent”.

“I think even if it cost similar to the $ 90-100 million estimate that SA Water is willing to spend on the Port Lincoln Desalination Plant, it would be money well spent doing so much more everything. by solving the initial problem of four gigaliters to eight gigaliters per year of potable water needed by 2025. ”

Regional Development Australia Eyre Peninsula chief executive Dion Dorward said he had been in contact with Mr Bothe and called for a ‘big picture’ of the EP’s water supply system and further study options.

“Water can be used as an economic tool and so we have industries like hydrogen, mining, agriculture which will all require a lot of water in the future and SA Water is not the best. positioned to have that overview of that bigger picture, “he said.

“It’s not necessarily their role … maybe it’s a role for the government.

“But we also asked that the current distribution system, pipes and pumps, be reviewed… as this will change as we learn to rely less on climate-fueled water sources.

SA Water’s Managing Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Amanda Lewry said she did not consider the Tod Reservoir an option for long-term water use on the Eyre Peninsula due to factors such as its salinity.

“Unlike the planned desalination plant, the Tod River reservoir is not a climate independent water source, instead relying on natural inputs to fill the storage,” she said.

“Since the water in the reservoir is quite saline, we would also need to build additional treatment infrastructure to ensure that the water is potable, which would be an additional and unnecessary cost.”

Ms Lewry said the planned desalination plant would initially be designed for a capacity of four gigaliters per year to meet current drinking water demands, but there would be room for expansion if the need arose. .

“The marine and underground pipelines will, however, be designed to provide an additional four gigaliters per year, should this prove necessary to meet future demand for potable water,” she said.

“This allows us to respond effectively to anticipated population growth opportunities and to manage existing groundwater sources for the long term.”

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