July 19 – Adelaide Desal Project and Central Market

The first full in day Adelaide was spent visiting the Adelaide Desalination Project and the Central Market.  The Adelaide Desalination Project was our first visit. This $1.8 billion project aims to produce 100 billion liters of potable water a year to help ease some of Southern Australia’s water stresses.  At its peak, this site will be able to produce about half of all of Adelaide’s water needs.  The plant also plans to run entirely on renewable energy, to help reduce the environmental impact.
The Adelaide Desalination Project Site

  Although the presentation outlined the impressive effort the team has taken to make this project as eco-friendly as possible, the Australian media has still criticized the project for both environmental and economic reasons.  This presentation made me realise that the water problems and the desalination plant are not just economic issues, but social, political, and environmental issues as well.  From what I have observed the Australian government and citizens are doing a good job grasping this concept.  The South Australian “Water For Good” Program–also run by the government–is a multi-faceted 40 year plan that incorporates different ways to obtain usable water, with tools to reduce the amount of water used throughout the state.  With the constant reminders to conserve water, it seems the Aussies are willing to make sacrifices to ensure the water supply does not run out.

Some of the materials used to filter and purify the water

It makes me wonder how American’s would respond to shorter showers and designated times to water the gardens.  When the option is change our ways, or don’t have water, the choice seems easy.

The group posing in front of the desalination site with presenter Peter Demouras

The second stop of the day was to the Adelaide Central Market, which is home to hundreds of shops selling fresh produce, meats, and other products.  This market was quite an experience.  The diversity of the food was amazing to see, and most of the food told you where it was from, which was usually right here in Australia, or nearby countries like New Zealand. Some of the fruit for sale at the Central Market is pictured below.
In terms of sustainability this is notable, because the closer food is grown to where it is sold, the less impact it has on the environment.  Again there was a drawback to the market, being that it closed at 5 p.m., but what is becoming obvious is, if we are to make our lifestyle more sustainable, we are definitely going to have to sacrifice a few conveniences. After shopping the group used our freshly bought produce to prepare a potluck dinner that was enjoyed at the hostel.

Ryan, Nick, and Jackie preparing their dish for the Potluck

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10 responses to “July 19 – Adelaide Desal Project and Central Market

  1. Will this recycled salt H2O be fit for drinking? Taste test? Do Australianslike bottled
    as much as Americans I am afraid?
    I love potlucks, did you try any native foods?
    Thank you Very interesting report!

  2. What purification technologies are they using? Also what about timer-based showers to conserve water? Just wondering… also HI ROSS!!!

  3. The Adelaide food market was a really interesting portion of our visit to this city, especially since we went there for several purposes: one, as visitors, to eat in the restaurants and cafes, as well as to shop for food for dinner, which would be a more typical reason for a patronage. And today, we were given a brief tour with the perspective of an environmental planner, that of the City Council workers.

    Following this visit, it was clear that much progress has been made, but more work needs to be done to make this popular location a source of positive environmental impact. This type of sustainability update could certainly be applied to other shopping and dining destinations. What if someplace like Cedar Point dedicated itself to reducing waste and emissions? How much of a change could that generate?

  4. I went on this program in 2008 but I never got a chance to go to a desal plant and I am very jealous, but I was wondering where all the $1.8 billion came from (private, public, etc.)? Do any of you who saw it up close and personal think that it is a viable option for other parts of the country and other countries in the world that are tight on drinking water?

  5. We were actually able to taste the desalinated water, and it definitely passed the taste test. I thought it was indistinguishable from our bottled water in the States. To desalinate the water they use a 3 step prefiltration process, and then use reverse osmosis. So far I haven’t noticed many Aussies drinking bottled water, but it is available almost everywhere we go. As far as the timer-showers go, they have stickers in the showers reminding you to keep it under 4 minutes, but they aren’t on a true timer.

    Katie, I really like your thoughts on making Cedar Point more sustainable, especially because it is such a large site and could make a larger overall impact.

  6. Austin, the funding for the SA Water Desal Plant project was supplied entirely by the Southern Australian government and federal funding. This type of water purification system was extremely efficient and will be operated using 100% renewable energy which is being contracted out by the Australian power company – AGL and will be supplying up to 50% of Adeliade’s water supply (~100 Billion Liters per year). Some of the renewable energy being used will be generated on-site through a 200 kW solar PV panel array system located on top of the RO (reverse-osmosis) filtration buildings. I believe that this is an extremely viable option for other areas of the world to produce clean and sustainable water for consumption by the public. SA Water will also be installing a sustainable landscape design which will consist of 200,000 native seedlings which will be incorporated into a natural regenerated wetlands environment which will improve the stormwater quality and will be irrigated by 800,000 L of rainwater, this rainwater system will be focused on the use of a drip irrigation system during the morning and early afternoon time of the day.

  7. Steve Calderone

    Where will the rejected salt/solids from the RO membranes be disposed?

  8. Steve, the brine solution from the treatment process is discharged back into the same bay from which it came. There are strict regulations put in place to assure that the discharged solution is having minimal environmental consequences. Also, the discharge sites are situated in areas of the bay that are of lower ecological importance.

  9. what are areas of the bay that are of lower ecological importance? I would like to read a good article about that.

  10. The areas where the brine is put back into the sea have very little vegetation or animal life surrounding them, and the surrounding water is monitored very closely to make sure that it does not have a significantly higher salt concentration

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