Chapter 7: Future urban water supplies

Australia’s largest cities are forecast to require 1150 GL/year (or 73 per cent) above the current supply of 1505 GL/year by 2050. In addition, current supplies will probably reduce as a result of climate change, requiring additional augmentation.

Chapter 7 by Stewart Burn

Desalination is the most adopted technology to date, providing 484 to 674 GL/year of additional water. There is potential for major improvements in the efficiency and cost of desalination.

Desalination plant at Kwinana, Western Australia

Other potential water sources include rainwater tanks, capturing and reusing stormwater, and indirect potable recycling – all of which have their particular strengths and weaknesses.

Traditionally, financial and technical considerations were emphasised when exploring new water supply options; now, consideration is also being given to social acceptability, and environmental costs and benefits. There will be different solutions to new supplies for each city, given their very different situations.


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