Water Week

EWN Publishing

SA Premier commits 20 per cent of the South Australian budget to desal plant off Gulf St Vincent, about 1000km north of the city, and a raised dam wall

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

Mike Rann on 11 September committed his Government to the biggest infrastructure project in South Australia’s history – a $2.5 billion water supply upgrade for Adelaide – but immediately faced criticism for “making policy on the run”. Rann pledged to build a desalination plant and double the volume of Adelaide’s stored water, but could not say when the projects would be delivered. Within five years, Adelaide could have a desalination plant on the coast of Gulf St Vincent, about 1000km north of the city, and a raised dam wall for the Mount Bold reservoir, southeast of the capital. The plant would provide about a quarter of Adelaide’s current water supplies, reported The Australian, (12/9/2007), p. 9.

Disaster ahead: In a bald assessment of Adelaide’s predicament – the city is currently sourcing 90 per cent of its water from dwindling Murray River supplies – Rann said the projects were “the only real choices” left. But it faced many future hurdles, with final cost, engineering and environmental components of the plan yet to be determined. Rann said a “final decision” would be made by Cabinet in November, after receipt of an expert’s report by a government working group. The preliminary estimate of a $2.5 billion price tag nominated by Rann represents more than 20 per cent of the South Australian budget If adopted the plan would almost double Adelaide’s available water supply, assuming adequate water falls in the Adelaide Hills catchment.

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