Arboreal desalinus

Arboreal desalinus - 2010

Materials: Hot dip galvanised welded steel
Dimensions: 2.5 x 0.5 x 0.35 m (H x W x D)

Before city water reticulation happened in Adelaide everyone had a rain water tank for their domestic requirements. When reticulated water became available homeowners were penalised for owning the tanks and removed them, due to a strategy by authorities to force people to use and buy piped water. Someone had to pay for the new water infrastructure.

During one of our more recent but extended droughts, rain water tanks regained popularity in suburban Adelaide in the early 21st century as water restrictions were imposed to restrict this vital commodity for essential uses only. Lawns and trees died; domestic sprinkler systems were replaced by water efficient dripper systems. Gardens were replanted with more water efficient plants. People developed strategies to cope with a lower water supply by being smarter in how they used water. But broader solutions were required.

Voices called for new solutions to capture and use some of the rain water that rushes out to sea through the storm drains, 'wasted.' Boutique islands of innovation with water management developed in outer Adelaide suburbs like Bolivar but without broad acceptance by our water authorities. A short-term construction program, but with significant recurrent operational costs, was ordered: build a desalination plant for Adelaide. It's easier to build a new plant than rebuild all of Adelaide's drainage and capture systems. Building a new desal plant on disused industrial land doesn't inconvenience voters as much as having their streets and nature strips torn-up to lay new drains.