Australia’s first Desal Discovery Centre and dedicated $5 million Desalination Research Facility will be officially opened in Rockingham, Western Australia this Sunday, September 4, 2011.
The new desalination testing and water science education facilities houses the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus. The NCEDA manages $20 million 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.
The government is expected to announce substantial new funding for innovative NCEDA research projects, adding to the existing 22 national projects currently underway.
The opening coincides with about 1,200 desalination industry delegates in WA for the IDA World Congress on Desalination Solutions in Perth, September 4-9, 2011.
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 acknowledged at the opening. The total value of donations to date is more than $500,000. Among the donors are: Siemens (control system); Endress+Hauser (process instrumentation); Grundfos (process pumps); Georg Fisher (pipework and valves); Waternish Constructions and SAGE Automation (RO system).
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% 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.