Project Update - October 2018

over 1 year ago

Work has begun on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required for planning approval of the temporary desalination plant at Belmont.

The EIS process includes a number of specialist studies and investigation of:

  • Hydrology and water quality
  • Coastal process and hazards
  • Biodiversity
  • Contamination
  • Social impacts and human health
  • Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment
  • Flooding and drainage
  • Sustainability
  • Traffic and transport
  • Noise and vibration
  • Waste
  • Visual impact
  • Air quality

Some site work has been completed including geotechnical investigations. Bore hole drilling has also taken place and the bore holes will remain for the next six months as we continue to analyse subsurface conditions.

As part of the pre-planning investigations, Hunter Water was required to submit a preliminary environmental assessment to the Department of Planning and Environment. This assessment, a Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs), was approved and outlined the work required to fulfil the EIS.

Upon completion of the EIS, there will be a review and submission period with Hunter Water aiming to secure a final determination and planning approval before the end of 2019.

Trigger points

An unusually wet October has provided a welcome boost to our water storage levels but planning work for the temporary desalination plant will continue. Under the 2014 Lower Hunter Water Plan, a temporary desalination plant is designed to be a measure of last resort in severe drought. As at 11 October, our water storage levels sit at 84.4 per cent. The temporary desalination plant won’t be built until our water storage reaches 35 per cent. We still need to get planning approval now so we can have everything ready to go if it is needed.

Project Trigger Points

Continued consultation

Underlying all of this activity is Hunter Water’s commitment to stakeholder engagement. From the initial assessment phase of this project, Hunter Water has been committed to open and inclusive engagement and consultation with stakeholders.

We’ve been actively engaging with the community, key stakeholders, local council and regulatory agencies about plans for the temporary desalination plant and our drought response measures.

Hunter Water’s new engagement platform,Your Voice, is a way for our community to be part of the conversation. Sign up to have your say about our current projects and upcoming initiatives so you can help shape our region’s water future.

Questions or Comments?

Join the conversation on the Discussion Board or send us your question through the Q&A forum.

If you would like more information, you can call 1800 066 243 or email