Water Journal : Water Journal February 2015
FEBRUARY 2015 water 9 CrossCurrent Victoria The Sunraysia Modernisation Project, jointly funded by the Australian Government and Victoria to modernise irrigation infrastucture in the Sunraysia region, has commenced major pipeline works. On completion, the project, which received government funding of over $100 million together with more than $17 million from Victoria through Lower Murray Water, will assist more than 1,900 irrigators across the region and deliver an annual average of seven billion litres of water for environmental use, including to internationally significant and locally important wetlands in the Mallee region. Yarra Valley Water is trialling a new technology to help preserve as many trees as possible when carrying out pipe maintenance. Managing Director Pat McCafferty said that the water utility is keen to find an environmentally friendly option to preserve as many tree roots as possible growing in the vicinity of Yarra Valley Water pipes. Hydro-excavation technology uses water pressure to remove the dirt around the tree roots, causing minimum disturbance to the roots. Queensland TRILITY has been selected by Unitywater to deliver the Design, Build, Operate and Maintain contract for the rehabilitation of the Redcliffe Sewage Treatment Plant in South-East Queensland. The contract includes the operation and maintenance of the plant through to 2022, and the delivery of a design and build phase for rehabilitation of the sewage treatment plant. A plan to divert two Queensland rivers to supply water to Galilee Basin coal mines would cause significant environmental damage, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has warned. Galilee Water Pty Ltd wants to extract up to 700 gigalitres from two rivers and channel it to dams to service mining operations. ACF’s James Trezise said ACF’s submission set out a range of reasons why the Federal Government should reject the Galilee Water proposal. “We have serious concerns about the damage this plan would do to the ecology of the Cape and Campaspe rivers, as well as to threatened and migratory species downstream,” he said. South Australia In September 2012, the Treasurer of South Australia referred to the Essential Services Commission (the Commission) an Inquiry into pricing reform for drinking water and sewerage retail services provided by SA Water. The Inquiry was referred to the Commission pursuant to section 35(1) of the Essential Services Commission Act 2002. The Commission has released its final Inquiry report to the Government for its consideration as it frames future policy in the water pricing area. The Final Inquiry Report takes account of an extensive stakeholder consultation process, which followed the release of the Draft Inquiry Report in July 2014. An investment of $31.5 million has been confirmed between the Australian Government and the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management (SAMDB NRM) Board to fund 122 projects to modernise on-farm irrigation infrastructure and return water to the environment. The funding will be delivered through the SAMDB NRM Board across the southern connected system of the Murray-Darling Basin through Round Four of the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program (OFIEP). Adelaide Hills residents directly affected by recent bushfires will be eligible for a range of assistance from SA Water, including credit for higher than usual water use and free replacement of fire- damaged water meters. Water Minister Ian Hunter said SA Water played a key role in working with agencies such as the Country Fire Service in supplying water during the fires. “Customers in the fire zone who used mains water to protect their properties from fire may be eligible for a reduction on their bill,” he said. Residents in the fire zone can also call SA Water’s Customer Service Centre if their water meter has been damaged by fire or they are experiencing supply problems. Western Australia A trial at a south-west wastewater treatment plant has reduced phosphorus in the water by more than 50 per cent. The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council said the Waroona Wastewater Treatment Plant had shown significant improvements in water quality. The treated wastewater is used to irrigate a woodland before going down an agricultural drain. A trial of a 700-metre ‘swale’ drain has reduced phosphorus by nearly 60 per cent and nitrogen by more than 30 per cent. Chief Executive Jane O’Malley said results should improve the sustainability of nearby wetlands. Construction of a nutrient-stripping wetland at Bayswater’s Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary to improve water quality in the Swan River has begun. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the $3 million project would reduce sediment, rubbish, phosphorus and nitrogen entering the river from the Bayswater Brook, while also restoring bird and animal habitat at the degraded sanctuary. This is the second wetland to be built by the Liberal-National Government in the past 12 months following construction of the $4.05 million Ellen Brook Wetland. The 2014 Water, Sewerage and Irrigation Performance Report released by the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) shows a state- wide shift away from traditional sources of drinking water due to the drying climate. A Summary of Key Findings has also been published. The report compares the performance outcomes and performance trends of the water supply schemes licensed by the ERA. ERA Chairman, Dr Stephen King said: “Surface water lost its standing as the second largest source of drinking water both in Perth and in regional towns for the first time in 2013, and this trend continued into 2014. Between 2012 and 2014, the proportion of Perth’s drinking water sourced from surface water has fallen from 25.2 per cent to 16.5 per cent, while in regional towns the proportion has fallen from 21.9 per cent to 6.8 per cent. In Perth, desalinated water is the second source of drinking water, while in regional towns bulk (purchased) water is now the second source.
Water Journal December 2014
Water Journal April 2015