TWELVE sites have been identified by the City Council's Gold Coast water officers for possible desalination plants.
Council's water supply spokeswoman Cr Daphne McDonald said the land component of desalination works was as important as the actual sea site.
"From what I have heard from officers, a Tugun site on land near the Coolangatta Airport would be most likely for the first desalination plant, which would need to provide a minimum of 55 megalitres a day to a maximum of 110 megalitres daily," she said.
"Extensive pipework would need to be laid down underground to the plant site and Tugun land would provide a far less disruptive effect on the community.
"The Federal Government would need to approve a site on its land," Cr McDonald said.
Council's selected sites were named as Tugun, Elanora (two sites near to the Elanora Treatment Works), Benowa (at the old treatment works), the Suntown Landfill site, Jacobs Well, Coomera Island, Cabbage Tree Creek (three possible sites), Coombabah and Pimpama, and The Spit.
"The complete list of possible sites will be advertised throughout the community soon, and we can expect a lot of comments, both for and against.," Cr McDonald said.
"The Spit has always aroused controversy."
However Cr McDonald said the process of desalination was no easy-fix to a supply shortage.
"The water product would be an emergency supply only.
"There are momumental environment issues involved and at this stage it is quite impossible to predict when the first desalination plant will be built, or even where," she said.
Meanwhile, city planning chairman Cr Ted Shepherd urged that there should be fast-tracking of all future water supply sources.
"The present council has surely learned a lesson from the procrastination of previous councils in delaying Hinze Dam Three, for example," he said.
"In 1992, the issue of taking the Hinze Dam to its final height was before the then Gold Coast City Council on several occasions.
"But a political decision was made not to go ahead ? council was concerned about the reaction of ratepayers to footing the bill," said Cr Shepherd.
"Had the right decision been made, the dam (which is now at just under 80 per cent capacity because of local rainfall) would have enough water to take us into 2040".
"For nearly a decade our water supply agenda has stalled, but now we are moving fast for future planning."
"We're on track now, and not before time," Cr Shepherd said.