Desalinated Water

What’s desalinated water?

Desalinated (desal) water is drinking water that the Victorian Desalinated Plant in Wonthaggi produces from sea water.

Like all drinking water, desal water meets the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, Victorian Safe Drinking Water Act and the World Health Organisation guidelines, so it still looks and tastes great.

Water from the plant is some of the best in the world to complement the high quality of water that Melburnians enjoy. More information is available through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's website.

When will we receive desalinated water?

Since 2016, 194 billion litres of desalinated water have boosted our supplies. In March 2020, the Minister for Water announced an order of 125 billion litres of desalinated water for the 2020–21 financial year. This is the same volume that was ordered for 2019-20, and water from this order started entering our catchments in June 2019.

Desalinated water helps build a buffer of water in our storages to secure supply in event of severe drought. Combining desalinated water with efficiency measures and investing in recycled water and storm water harvesting increases our resilience against drought by maintaining storages at a higher level.

When will the next order be?

In March each year, based on advice from us, the other Melbourne retailers and Melbourne Water, the Minister of Water announces whether an order will be placed or not in the coming financial year.

We all base this decision on how much is needed in the next year to maintain water security for the medium to long term, expected rainfall, current storage levels and cost to customers.

What will desalinated water taste like and look like?

Desalinated water will be mixed with existing water storages and undergo the same treatment process - so there’ll be no difference to the taste or appearance of water that comes out of your tap.

What does it cost?

Our most recent desal order is to help provide a buffer against drought and so there’s enough drinking water for everyone. In 2020-21, on average water bills for households and businesses will remain the same as in 2019-20.

Making every drop count

As Melburnians, we’re using the same amount of water as we did in 1980 – even though our population has doubled. This shows that Melbourne has done a great job continuing to be water wise beyond the millennium drought – and we want you to keep up the great work!

Even with desal adding to our water supplies, it’s still important to make every drop count in your home or business. Take a look on the front of your residential water bill to see how you’re tracking under Target 155. It’s about each of us only using 155 litres of water a day – so there's enough for everyone.

Find out more about how you can save water around the home.