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Adelaide & water politics « Previous | |Next »
February 7, 2007

SA's water future is bleak, given the extremely low inflows, low storage levels and over-exploitation of water in the Murray-Darling river system. That presents significant problems for water management in SA next year and the next decade. SA needs to make better use of the resource it has instead of relying on others upstream to sacrifice a share of theirs, and it should lead the way in efficient water management.

So what is being done?


There is a project to build a desalinisation plant in the Upper Spencer Gulf to supply water for Whyalla and the Eyre Peninsula, and so lessen their dependence on River Murray water. However, most of the water from the plant will be used by BHP Billiton to service the $6.5 billion expansion of the Olympic Dam mine.

What, then of Adelaide? Given the talk about waterproofing Adelaide, what is actually being done, apart from the imposition of water restrictions to reduce consumption? Well, the Rann Government does look busy in terms of its management.

It is toying with building a weir near Wellington to secure water for the city; closing Lake Bonney and other wetlands to reduce evaporation; modifying four major pumps that supply Adelaide and country towns; pump an extra 60 gigalitres of water into Mt Lofty Ranges storages to provide a buffer against water quality problems; and build new water filtration plants for 15 country towns along the Murray. However, these management actions merely use River Murray water more efficiently, when it is the reliance on the river for the city's water that is the problem.

There has been little attempt by the Rann Government to address the alternative sources of water for Adelaide. It is missing in action on this. Does Adelaide need a desalinisation plant? Apparently not, as it is would force up water prices. I would have thought the price of water is going to increase no matter what. So how much reliance should there be on recycling storm and grey water in Adelaide? When are water restrictions going to give way to better water pricing to help ensure responsible use.

If Adelaide is at risk, as Premier Rann keeps saying on the national stage, then what kind of long-term planning to find alternative water supplies is being done? Well, the water proofing Adelaide project team have spent time examining such proposals as harvesting icebergs from Antarctica, piping water from the Ord River, the Bradfield scheme for piping water from the rivers in northern Queensland and piping groundwater from the South East of South Australia. Why take this stuff seriously when we know the answer---aquifer storage and recovery of the storm water that flows from the Adelaide Hills into the sea?

Do we detect a lack of desire by the Rann state government to actually make any positive step to increasing the water supply. Is it just like the other state governments, with the exception of WA.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:27 AM | | Comments (1)


For the love of australia, the wellington weir is a very bad thing to do, i do not think Rann did his homework, because what will happen at the dam? It will slow down the river, and will lower the oxygen in the water, which will kill our beloved Murray Cod, and the very few Murray Cray, and Catfish. It will also harm our swamp lands, and the life that depend on it. I think that the desalinisation plant is not a bad idea, but their are other ways of getting fresh water than using the murray, The adelaide hills could be used even more so than they are used now, by building dams, and large tanks. also what is Adelaide built on, a swamp. they should use that as an advantage, because what are swamps filled with, fresh water.