Plans to build a $87 million desalination plant at Belmont to help secure the Lower Hunter's water supply are now on public exhibition.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is calling for public feedback on the plan between now and December 19.
The plant would make up to 15 million litres of fresh water each day from seawater and cater for more than 10 per cent of the region's water usage if Level 3 water restrictions were in place.
It will be built alongside Belmont Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The region has been on Level 1 restrictions since September and Level 2 is expected to begin in January.
Water Minister Melinda Pavey announced today that Sydney will begin Level 2 restrictions next month with storage levels plummeting due to the lack of rain.
The Belmont desalination plant, announced last month, is part of the state government's drought response.
Since restrictions began here in September water usage has dropped by 12 per cent, but, with little rain on the horizon extra savings will be needed to maintain the supply.
Read more:The Big Dry - everything you need to know about the drought
"It includes construction of seawater intake wells, process units, and upgrades to power and water connections," Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Executive Director Infrastructure Assessments David Gainsford said.
"Hunter Water advises it has further plans for associated pipeline infrastructure that could bring its overall investment to about $100 million.
"The reverse osmosis plant would pump in seawater which would be filtered to remove salt and impurities providing fresh water for the Lower Hunter community. Desalinated water would be tested to ensure it meets drinking water quality requirements. Remaining brine water would be pumped back into the ocean via the existing Belmont Wastewater Treatment Plant outfall."
The plan is on public exhibition until Thursday, December 19. Learn more about the project at www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/project/10546
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