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Adelaide’s Mt Lofty dam storage-capacity for only a year’s worth of water; SA Govt should stop dragging its heels on desal, says Turnbull

Posted by gmarkets on 27 September, 2007

The Federal Government had set the example on water provision for the future, and the South Australian Government should get on with it, said Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, in Federal Parliament (12/9/2007).

SA initiatives: “The Australian Government, in 2004, established the $2 billion Australian Government water fund and this year established the $10 billion National Plan for Water Security, supported by the historic Water Act 2007. The Australian Government water fund has invested in the better management of more than 75 billion litres of South Australian water through projects worth, in total, $620 million. They include $38 million for Waterproofing Northern Adelaide, $2.3 million for the metropolitan Adelaide stormwater reuse project, $34 million for waterproofing the south and $20 million for a statewide waste water recycling project, among others.

Water wake-up call: “I note that in 2004 the Prime Minister offered to fund half the cost of the Glenelg wastewater recycling project to save 3.8 billion litres. Three years on, the National Water Commission is still waiting on written confirmation of co-funding from the South Australian Government. The problem that Adelaide faces is that it has in its Mount Lofty dam storage capacity for only about a year’s worth of water – a little less, in fact. It is dependent on the Murray every year, and in dry years dependent on the Murray for up to 80 – sometimes 90 – per cent of its water. Last year we got a wake-up call in terms of the Murray River. Inflows were a little more than 50 per cent of the previous all-time low. Those inflows were literally off the charts.

SA dragging its feet: “It became obvious then that Adelaide needs a non-climate-dependent water source and, plainly, desalination must be part of that solution. The fact is that Adelaide was given a signal from those inflows that it had to act, and Premier Rann is dragging his feet. I fear that that Labor complacency, no doubt copied from the complacency of the leader of the opposition when he was involved in State Government, will put Adelaide in the same position in years ahead as Brisbane is in today. We need action; we need vision. We have set the example at the federal level, and the South Australian Government should get on with it,” Turnbull added.

Reference: Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Member for Wentworth, Liberal Party of Australia, House of Representatives, Commonwealth, 12 September 2007

Erisk Net, 12/9/2007

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