Vast reservoirs of geothermal water lying under Victoria in Australia are to be tapped for a Japanese-style spa resort complex proposed for the south of the state.

The US$16M complex is being built by Charles and Richard Davidson on a 17ha property near Rye on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne. The brothers appointed a hydrogeologist, David Stanley, from consultant firm Sinclair Knight Merz to find the best location for the supply of sustainable geothermal water. Stanley said that groundwater of 30-70oC had been found in the area, possibly due to an upwelling of deep circulating waters along the Selwyn Fault that runs across the Mornington Peninsula.

Stanley identified a zone that demonstrated high geothermal potential from relatively shallow depths. Preliminary sampling studies carried out near the site confirmed that mineralised water, at a temperature of 50oC was present at depths of around 500m, and would be available at production flow rates of 20 litre/sec.

‘Hydrochemical analysis established that the water is somewhat saline and contains elevated bicarbonate levels, making it ideal for spa bathing applications,’ Stanley said.

The design of the proposed resort is now being carried out. Construction is expected to be complete in two years.