Australia’s first $5m Desal Discovery Centre and dedicated Desalination Research Facility will be officially opened in Western Australia this Sunday, September 4, in unique collaboration between the state and federal governments – attended by hundreds of global water experts.
WA Water Minister Bill Marmion will unveil the new state government-funded desalination testing and water science education facilities which house the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus. The NCEDA manages $20m of research funding over five years from the Australian Government’s National Urban Water and Desalination Plan.
NCEDA is a consortium of 13 universities and CSIRO collaborating to improve desalination technology with Australian and international research institutions, private companies, water and power utilities, and government agencies.
At the opening, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Senator Don Farrell will announce substantial new funding for innovative NCEDA research projects, adding to the existing 22 national projects currently underway.
Attending VIPs include the Spanish Secretary of State for Environment and Water Mr Josep Puxeu, the Spanish Director General of Water Ms Marta Moren, and Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Professor Richard Higgott who will be joined by hundreds of visiting desalination and water experts from around the world.
The opening coincides with about 1200 desalination industry delegates in WA for the IDA World Congress on Desalination Solutions in Perth, September 4-9. The Congress, sponsored by the Water Corporation with technical program coordinated by NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer, features keynote addresses by Sir Richard Branson (via satellite) and Philippe Cousteau Jr: http://www.idadesal.org/PDF/idawc2011_technicalprogram.pdf
The WA Department of Commerce has contributed $2.75 million in funding for NCEDA’s new state-of-the-art Rockingham facility which features laboratories, pilot plant testing facilities, multimedia conference room and a Desal Discovery Centre for schoolchildren.
In addition, the Department has also funded four $50,000 WA scholarships as part of the Centre’s new $580,000 in scholarships for 20 Australian graduates in 2011.
Industry support for the new NCEDA facilities will also be honoured at the opening with thanks for new gold sponsorships and donations of $500,000 worth of new plant and equipment.
NCEDA was established by the Australian Government’s Water for the Future initiative following significant rapid investment in seawater desalination in all mainland state capitals and huge growth in desalination worldwide as a sustainable solution to long term water shortages from drought and climate change.
NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer says that by the end of 2012 up to half of all of Perth’s and Adelaide’s public water needs will come from desalination – Australia’s six major coastal desal plants capable of supplying 35 per cent of major capital cities’ water.
The public will get their chance to view the NCEDA facilities at a special open day on October 19 as part of National Water Week and school groups will be invited to tour throughout 2012.