The New South Wales Government has confirmed Sydney’s desalination plant will be shutting down at the end of the week, but has rejected suggestions the facility has been a waste of money.
The plant cost $2 billion to build and has completed a two-year proving period, but will lie idle from Sunday.
Finance Minister Greg Pearce says it could be around three years before the facility operates again.
“At the moment of course the dams are full, so it won’t go back on until they drop below 70 per cent, and then the desalination plant operates until they’re up to 80 per cent again,” Mr Pearce said.
Greens MP John Kaye says the desalination plant is a massive white elephant.
“The desalination plant is a terribly expensive way of meeting population growth and completely unnecessary,” Dr Kaye said.
“If it were needed for a drought sometime in the future, then it should be built sometime in the future.
“The Greens estimate that households spent $80 million on running the desalination plant over the last two years. Not only was the desalination plant unnecessary, but the majority of that water has now flowed over the spillway at Warragamba.
Read more: abc