Agnes Water Desalination
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Agnes Water Desalination Project Preliminary Studies – Aquatic Ecology John Thorogood and Kylie McPherson. Adjacent to the existing water treatment plant Comprising: - A submerged offshore intake (600m off Chinamans Beach) - A submerged offshore brine

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Agnes Water Desalination ProjectPreliminary Studies – Aquatic EcologyJohn Thorogood and Kylie McPherson

The proposed plant l.jpg

Adjacent to the existing water treatment plant


- A submerged offshore intake

(600m off Chinamans Beach)

- A submerged offshore brine

outfall (800m off Chinamans


Capacity – 2mL/day increasing to 12mL/day

The Proposed Plant

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Study Methodology

  • Review

  • Focused consultation

  • Field survey

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The Existing Environment

  • ‘Oceanic’ water quality

  • Chinamans Beach characterised by surf, mobile sandy substrate, with rock out crops

  • Absence of tidal wetlands and subtidal seagrass

  • Significant reefs lie approx 60km offshore

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  • Round Hill Creek is important for both recreational and commercial fisheries

  • Chinamans Beach supports recreational beach fishing

  • Trawlers (<6) operate offshore, targeting tiger prawns and saucer scallops

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Conservation Significant Habitat

  • Tidal waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park. Adjacent to Chinamans Beach. Designated ‘General Use Zone’

  • GUZ allows for ‘reasonable use, whilst still conserving these areas’

  • Waters offshore of Chinamans Beach are designated GUZ of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

  • Waters offshore also lie within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

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Conservation Significance cont.

  • Along with entire GBR – listed as a Wetland of National Significance and World Heritage Area

  • No RAMSAR site

  • No wetlands of state or regional significance

  • No Fish Habitat Area

  • No Dugong Protection Area

  • No seagrass

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State Coastal Management Plan

  • Agnes Waters lies within the Wide Bay Coast Coastal Management Region

  • Draft Regional Coastal Management Plan under preparation

  • Current issues include: loss of habitat, impacts of urban development on coastal landscapes and beach protection zones, beach erosion and impacts of marinas and dredging

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Conservationally Significant Species

  • Chinamans Beach is nesting site for marine turtles (nesting, October-March; Hatching, December-May)

  • Offshore waters comprise humpback whale migration corridor

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  • GBRMPA – GBRMP permit

  • Possible EPBC Act Referral

  • Marine Plants Permit - Unlikely

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Potential Impacts

  • Construction Phase

    • Disturbance of nesting turtles

    • Disturbance of migrating whales (negligible impact)

    • Disturbance of fishers

    • Disturbance of beach and sea bed

    • Increased turbidity

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Potential Impacts cont

  • Operation Phase

    - Intake of Fauna (turtle hatchling) (no impact on

    fisheries resources expected)

    - Discharge of Brine (elevated salinity)

    • Modeling predicts <0.6g/L increase at 100m

    • Mobile species (fish, prawns, etc) will avoid waters of elevated salinity

    • Some change in community structure of immobile benthic fauna likely to close proximity of diffuser

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  • Construction Phase

    - Construct pipelines in the winter months to avoid turtle nesting; or avoid any night work

  • Operation Phase

    - Screened intake

    - Effective diffusion of brine effluent

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  • Proposed site has low conservation significance with the notable exception of turtle nesting

  • Proposed site is physically robust

  • Predicted impacts considered reliable

  • Predicted impacts (after mitigation) are likely to be ecologically negligible and not significantly fisheries or conservation values