Belmont Temporary Desalination Plant

Temp DeSal Wave 750x750

We are seeking planning approval for the possible construction of a temporary desalination plant at Belmont.

This temporary plant is our insurance policy in a worst case scenario if the Hunter reached critical water storage levels in unprecedented drought conditions. The plant would only be built after a suite of water saving, drought response measures were introduced across the Hunter.

While the likelihood of having to construct the plant is low, we need to get planning approval now so our community does not face severe water shortages if the worst case scenario eventuates.

What's involved in the planning?

Temporary desalination

We are seeking planning approval for the possible construction of a temporary desalination plant at Belmont.

This temporary plant is our insurance policy in a worst case scenario if the Hunter reached critical water storage levels in unprecedented drought conditions. The plant would only be built after a suite of water saving, drought response measures were introduced across the Hunter.

While the likelihood of having to construct the plant is low, we need to get planning approval now so our community does not face severe water shortages if the worst case scenario eventuates.

What's involved in the planning?

Temporary desalination was part of the NSW Government’s 2014 Lower Hunter Water Plan as a last resort for drought security.

We have started the planning approval process by engaging with our community and working on an Environmental Impact Statement to support our development application to the NSW Department of Planning.

Where will it be located?

Hunter Water land, adjacent to the Belmont Wastewater Treatment Works, was selected for the temporary plant after a multi-site analysis looked at factors such as costs, power supply, environmental and community impacts. Ongoing environmental assessments will look closely at each of these factors as we move through the planning process.

We want to hear your views as we go through the planning stages. For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions, join the Discussion Board or contact us.


  • Desalination plant would be region's last resort, says Hunter Water

    20 days ago

    On Breakfast with Jenny Marchant and Dan Cox

    ABC Newcastle's Dan Cox and Jenny Marchant spoke to Darren Cleary, Hunter Water's Chief Investment Officer, to find out how it would work and how far away we are from needing it.

    Listen to the interview here.

    On Breakfast with Jenny Marchant and Dan Cox

    ABC Newcastle's Dan Cox and Jenny Marchant spoke to Darren Cleary, Hunter Water's Chief Investment Officer, to find out how it would work and how far away we are from needing it.

    Listen to the interview here.

  • Redhead Surf Club fundraising markets

    7 months ago

    Hunter Water is proud to support this year’s Redhead Surf Club fundraising markets. The temporary desalination project team will have an information stall so we can talk to residents about the proposed plan. If you’ve got questions or just want more information, come and say Hi to the team.

    The markets will be held at the Redhead Surf Club on Friday, 7 December, between 4pm and 8pm. There will be food and drink stalls and Christmas gifts.

    For more details visit the Redhead Surf Club Markets Facebook page


    Hunter Water is proud to support this year’s Redhead Surf Club fundraising markets. The temporary desalination project team will have an information stall so we can talk to residents about the proposed plan. If you’ve got questions or just want more information, come and say Hi to the team.

    The markets will be held at the Redhead Surf Club on Friday, 7 December, between 4pm and 8pm. There will be food and drink stalls and Christmas gifts.

    For more details visit the Redhead Surf Club Markets Facebook page


  • Project Update - October 2018

    8 months ago
    Trigger points graphic   updated

    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...

    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.


    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.


  • In The News: ABC Newcastle

    9 months ago

    Hunter Water spokeswoman Renee Fedder spoke to ABC Newcastle about reducing water usage and preparing for a serious drought.

    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.


    Hunter Water spokeswoman Renee Fedder spoke to ABC Newcastle about reducing water usage and preparing for a serious drought.

    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.


  • Project Update - August 2018

    10 months ago
    Investigation site plan

    Investigation works will soon be occurring on the proposed site of the temporary desalination plant at Belmont, on Hunter Water land, next to the Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) including the dunes and down to the water’s edge. Hunter Water is planning to drill bore holes and undertake geotechnical surveys to investigate subsurface conditions. Environmental investigations will also be undertaken as well as reviewing existing power and water connections.

    This work will commence in August and will be undertaken by Hunter Water’s contractor GHD. Given the significance of this project, testing will be ongoing over the next eight to ten...

    Investigation works will soon be occurring on the proposed site of the temporary desalination plant at Belmont, on Hunter Water land, next to the Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) including the dunes and down to the water’s edge. Hunter Water is planning to drill bore holes and undertake geotechnical surveys to investigate subsurface conditions. Environmental investigations will also be undertaken as well as reviewing existing power and water connections.

    This work will commence in August and will be undertaken by Hunter Water’s contractor GHD. Given the significance of this project, testing will be ongoing over the next eight to ten months as we prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Department of Planning & Environment.

    During the work you may notice the drilling rig and vehicles onsite, however the work should not result in excessive dust or noise. An important aim of all Hunter Water projects is to minimise any inconvenience to the community, businesses and customers.

    Hunter Water will not be restricting access to Nine Mile Beach. The work on Nine Mile Beach is expected to take place over a four day period, on weekdays, between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm. Beach users will need to take appropriate care and are asked to stay clear of testing sites. All sites will be clearly sign posted and bore holes will be protected by screens to prevent damage.

    The site plan below shows the current planned location of test sites including the sand dunes.

    Hunter Water is committed to open, ongoing engagement with the community about plans for the temporary desalination plant and our drought response measures. Our Your Voice webpage is an opportunity for members of our community to give Hunter Water feedback on plans for the temporary desalination plant as we go through the planning stages. To sign up to Your Voice, and receive project updates, visit https://yourvoice.hunterwater.com.au/register.


    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.


  • Eastlakes NAIDOC Family Fun Day

    12 months ago

    Hunter Water is proud to support this year’s Eastlakes NAIDOC Family Fun Day on Friday July 20 at Pelican Foreshore Park.

    Come and say hi to the Hunter Water team and discuss planning for the temporary desalination plant at Belmont.

    We’ll have some interactive water wise activities for the kids including our educational Virtual Reality headsets. And don’t forget to bring your water bottle to fill up at Hunter Water’s Hydration Station.

    More details on the Eastlakes Facebook page.

    Hunter Water is proud to support this year’s Eastlakes NAIDOC Family Fun Day on Friday July 20 at Pelican Foreshore Park.

    Come and say hi to the Hunter Water team and discuss planning for the temporary desalination plant at Belmont.

    We’ll have some interactive water wise activities for the kids including our educational Virtual Reality headsets. And don’t forget to bring your water bottle to fill up at Hunter Water’s Hydration Station.

    More details on the Eastlakes Facebook page.

  • In the News: Hunter Water desalination plant plan for Belmont remains 'emergency measure'

    12 months ago


    Read more in the Newcastle Herald.


    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.



    Read more in the Newcastle Herald.


    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.


  • Community Day at Swansea Library - Saturday 12 May 2018

    about 1 year ago

    The project team will be at Swansea Library on Saturday 12 May between 10am and 2pm to let you know more about the plans for the temporary desalination plant at Belmont. Please come along and ask us any questions you may have.

    Hunter Water is hosting a community day at the library and there will also be a live water show for kids, experiments and demonstrations, Virtual Reality headsets, face painting, animal balloons, Storytime, a BBQ with funds going to Swansea Lions Club, plus a chance to see some of Hunter Water’s historical memorabilia.


    Questions or Comments?

    Join the conversation...

    The project team will be at Swansea Library on Saturday 12 May between 10am and 2pm to let you know more about the plans for the temporary desalination plant at Belmont. Please come along and ask us any questions you may have.

    Hunter Water is hosting a community day at the library and there will also be a live water show for kids, experiments and demonstrations, Virtual Reality headsets, face painting, animal balloons, Storytime, a BBQ with funds going to Swansea Lions Club, plus a chance to see some of Hunter Water’s historical memorabilia.


    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.


  • Media release - Insurance against a future drought

    over 1 year ago

    See the latest media release about planning for Hunter Water's temporary desalination plant.

    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.


    See the latest media release about planning for Hunter Water's temporary desalination plant.

    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 tempdesal@hunterwater.com.au.