Water Journal : Water Journal August 2015
water AUGUST 2015 10 CrossCurrent A Local Aboriginal Land Council has transferred land to a local government utility to improve water supply for the broader community. Under an agreement signed between the Forster Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and MidCoast Water, 1,600 hectares of land will be purchased from the Land Council to develop a new source of water supply for the surrounding communities. The sale of the land will finance social and economic development opportunities for Aboriginal people, who will also retain a perpetual right of cultural access to fish and gather food from the site. The sale of the land will enable the development of the Nabiac Inland Dune Aquifer and water treatment plant, which will provide the community with a diversity of water supply, additional capacity and lower pumping costs. Australian Capital Territory An inquiry into the ACT’s enlarged Cotter Dam, the Murrumbidgee pipeline and a spillway upgrade at Googong Dam has given the projects qualified approval, despite foreseeable delays and a cost blowout. A report by ACT Auditor-General Maxine Cooper has found the use of a contracting alliance by water utility ACTEW to build the projects was appropriate and effective. The Bulk Water Alliance formed to deliver the projects was comprised of ACTEW, the project designer GHD, and constructors Abigroup and John Holland Group. Ms Cooper found events such as flooding and a geographical fault did not fully account for a 20-month delay and the cost overrun. The final cost of the Cotter Dam project was $410 million, significantly higher than the estimated $363 million. The auditor general also said delays in concreting and excavation should have been foreseeable. The report found while there were delays in providing project costs to the public, there was no evidence this was deliberate. However, the report said the merits of including the Googong Dam Spillway project in the alliance had not been evidenced. Canberrans and residents of surrounding councils have been invited to complete an online survey on how they use their lakes and waterways and what they think of water quality. The ACT Basin Priority Project is a joint Australian Government and ACT Government project that is improving long-term water quality in the ACT and the Murrumbidgee River catchment, with funding of up to $85 million from the Australian Government. Complete the survey by 14 August and enter a prize draw for one $1000 and eight $500 gift cards. Go to www.environment.act.gov.au Victoria A Victorian parliamentary committee in July held a public hearing in Melbourne in relation to the inquiry into unconventional gas in Victoria. The Committee examined the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of onshore unconventional gas development. The Australian Water Association responded to the Victorian inquiry into unconventional gas, highlighting some of the key work the Association has recently done in this area, including the Water & CSG supplement to the April Water Journal, the recent ‘CSG and Water’ breakfast seminar and the upcoming discussion paper Coal Seam Gas and Water Regulation in New South Wales and Queensland. You can view the full submission at www.awa.asn.au Western Australia Perth’s drinking water supplies will be boosted thanks to a $21.2 million upgrade to the Jandakot Groundwater Treatment Plant and the installation of a new drinking water bore. WA Water Minister, Mia Davies, said the new bore would provide an additional six billion litres of water each year into the Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS), which was the equivalent of 2,667 Olympic swimming pools. The WA Government has completed work on a suite of projects worth $113 million to upgrade Karratha's wastewater scheme and increase the amount of wastewater being recycled. Water Minister Mia Davies said projects completed included a major upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant near the light industrial area, new pipelines and upgrades to wastewater pump stations. “The wastewater treatment plant has been upgraded to treat up to 10 million litres of wastewater per day," Ms Davies said. The WA Government has announced that Denmark will soon have a $15 million water-recycling scheme to irrigate the local golf course and a new tree farm, made possible by Royalties for Regions. Water Minister Mia Davies and Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the recycling scheme would recycle treated wastewater from the Water Corporation's Denmark Wastewater Treatment Plant through a new pipeline for use in irrigation. WA Premier, Colin Barnett, has opened an innovative stormwater harvesting and storage project that will provide a new supply of irrigation water to the expanded Hartfield Park reserve in Forrestfield. The first stage of the project involves the harvesting and filtering of 46,000 kL of stormwater from a Water Corporation drain before injecting the water into the superficial aquifer below Hartfield Park. South Australia SA Water Minister, Ian Hunter, has reiterated the State Government will not privatise SA Water, following calls by South Australian Federal Liberal MP Jamie Briggs that he wants to sell off the state’s water utility. “Mr Briggs' comments on Adelaide radio this morning are very concerning,” Mr Hunter said. “Unlike the Liberals who sold off our electricity assets – and now want to sell off SA Water – this State Labor Government will ensure SA Water is owned by the people of South Australia and not sold to an overseas monopoly.” Consumers could save about $150 a year on their water and sewerage bills if the value of SA Water’s assets is written down, a parliamentary committee has been told. The $13 billion value of SA Water’s assets has been under scrutiny since the former head of the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) Paul Kerrin accused the Government of propping up its budget by inflating the valuation. Other members of the ESCOSA board have also claimed the asset base is overvalued by about $2 billion. The asset valuation forms a key part of the calculation of household water bills.
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