Premier Colin Barnett had to admit being sceptical about getting drinking water from the ocean as he set the second stage of the Binningup desalination plant online yesterday.
The $450 million expansion is a big step towards drought-proofing Perth and will double the plant's capacity to 100 billion litres a year. When it is finished, half of Perth's water will come from desalination.
But minutes after Mr Barnett started the flow, he was forced to admit he had not always been a fan of desalination.
In 2004, he was highly critical of the Kwinana plant, saying it would emit more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and that he favoured a canal from Kimberley.
Mr Barnett said he had been assured the technology at Binningup was more energy efficient.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the Premier was a hypocrite for praising desalination yesterday after saying in 2006 that desalination would "do nothing" for WA's economic development.