Water Week

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Adelaide could run out of water by the summer of 2008-09; above-average rainfall required next winter in Murray-Darling Basin

Posted by waterweek on 14 September 2007

Adelaide could run out of water by the summer of 2008-09 after disappointing rains this winter failed to recharge the city’s main supply from the Murray River, reported The Australian (5/9/2007, p.6).

Sudden torrent required, or else: The catastrophe of residents of the South Australian capital forced to rely on emergency supplies of water from January 2009 can be averted only by well-above-average rainfall next winter in the Murray-Darling Basin. However, the chances of the city’s estimated eight months of storage being replenished before next winter are fading because the likelihood of above-average rain over the next three months is low.

Eight months emergency supply for Adelaide: SA Water had already pumped an extra 60 gigalitres of water to top up the city’s reservoirs as a buffer against further deterioration of water quality in the Murray. Currently filled to about 80 per cent of capacity, they provide eight months’ water supply for Adelaide and will operate as a final emergency tank if supplies from the Murray run out.

BHP desalination plant plan at Spencer Gulf: Whyalla mayor Jim Pollock said he was increasingly concerned about his region’s reliance on water piped from Morgan, at the bottom of the Murray River. He said the community could look at switching supply to the BHP desalination plant proposed at the top of Spencer Gulf to supply the expansion to the uranium mine at Roxby Downs. “We’ve got to take what comes out of the tap, but if conditions worsen then it’s time for us to speak to the authorities to find out what measures they’ve got in place for us,” he said.

The Australian, 5/9/2007, p. 6

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