Increasing water storage for Davis station

Photo of grey round partially constructed water tank
The trades team is assembling the tank in Hobart before it undertakes the 4,800km voyage to Antarctica. (Photo: Simon Payne)
Two water tanks in the foreground with a yellow building in the backgroundMan wearing high vis in front of partially constructed water tank

Davis research station will soon have improved water security due to a 50 per cent increase in storage capacity.

A 600,000 litre water tank is being installed this summer, increasing the storage capacity to 1.8 million litres.

Engineering Services Supervisor, Angus Davis, said it is only possible to make water at Davis research station for two months of the year.  

“There’s a salt water lake behind the station which melts in the warmest summer months,” Mr Davis said.

“We draw the water out and use the station’s reverse osmosis plant to desalinate it, and then fill the storage tanks with enough water to last the next 12 months.”

The addition of a third tank will increase storage by 50 per cent.

The steel tank has an insulated layer, rubber bladder and heat exchange, which stops the water from freezing.

 “With up to 93 expeditioners living and working at Davis in the summer, a secure water supply is important.”

“By increasing the storage we increase the reserve capacity, which offers a buffer if the lake doesn't melt enough or if there is a fault with the station’s pipework or desalination plant.”

A trades team is currently trial assembling the tank in Hobart before it undertakes the 4,800km voyage to Davis research station on Australia’s icebreaker Aurora Australis

“Understanding the assembly process and double checking there are no missing parts will help ensure a successful installation on station,” Mr Davis said.

It will take six to eight weeks to construct the tank in Antarctica.

“The plan is to commission the tank in time to fill it with water so it’s ready for use in time for the 2020 winter.”