The Gold Coast Desalination Plant, located at Tugun, uses reverse osmosis to produce drinking water for the Gold Coast, Logan and Brisbane. The plant’s intake and outlet structures are located out to sea and have become artificial reefs, which are home to a variety of small plants and sea animals.
- Desalinated water supplemented drinking water supplies in the final years of the Millennium drought in 2009 and 2010, during flood events in 2011 and 2013 and during ex-TC Debbie event in 2017
- The plant supplied water to areas of the Gold Coast during the Mudgeeraba Water Treatment Plant upgrade in 2015 and further work in 2017; and when Molendinar Water Treatment Plant underwent maintenence in 2016
- In 2018, the plant was run at an increased capacity for up to three months as upgrade works were undertaken at the Mount Crosby water treatment plants, supplying up to 25% of water for Brisbane and Ipswich.
- Based on population growth and demand, the plant may be required to supplement peak demand on the Gold Coast during the summer as early as 2020.
- The plant operates in a 'hot standby' mode
- The plant can supply around 133 megalitres (ML) of water a day, that’s equivalent to more than 50 Olympic sized swimming pools.
- 1 megalitre (ML) of water = 1,000,000 litres (L) of water
The desalination process
The desalination process separates dissolved salts and other minerals from seawater to produce drinking water.
It uses an advanced technology called reverse osmosis to remove the salt. The water produced is called permeate and is similar to distilled water. Permeate is then re-mineralised so it can be blended with other treated water or directly distributed to homes, businesses and industries in the region.
Unlike the majority of drinking water produced in South East Queensland, desalination does not rely on rainfall and is a critical, climate resilient water source during drought and flood.
Read About the Gold Coast Desalination Plant fact sheet for more information or watch our virtual tour of the plant.