Water Journal : Water Journal February 2013
WATER FEBRUARY 2013 The current replacement cost of inoperative monitoring sites was estimated at $318 million, rising to over half a billion dollars if governments continued to ignore the problem, the NWC report indicated. Professor Simmons says there has been a steady increase in use of groundwater by Australian cities, towns and industries over the past 20 years, and especially during the Millennium Drought. "If we are unable to monitor what is going into or being taken out of our aquifers and how groundwater levels are changing, then some communities or industries may nd they run out of water without warning. Groundwater is out-of- sight, out-of-mind for most Australians. It is a lot harder to know what you've got in the underground water bank than in a river or a dam. Our front line of defence against groundwater running out consists of thousands of monitors, most of which were installed during the 1960s, '70s and '80s and are now well past their 'use-by' dates." Groundwater is an important water supply in many remote and rural regions but urban groundwater use is expected to grow. Professor Simmons says that although only Perth among Australia's major cities relies extensively on groundwater, most were now starting to think about how groundwater might augment water supplies as their populations grew, surface resources became strained and the cost of building dams became prohibitive. Adelaide, for example, had previously used groundwater as an emergency drought water supply in the 1970's and there was no reason why the same idea would not be revisited in times of severe drought. Professor Simmons says that, despite nationwide complacency since the breaking of the last drought "the next drought is already on the way". The last 200 years have taught us major droughts can be expected several times a century. Climate change is also linked to an increasing number of droughts around the world: there has been drought in a major grain-growing region in each of the last seven years, driving high food prices. "It's essential that as Australians, living in a dry continent, we don't get taken by surprise by the next drought -- or the ones after it. Part of our strategy for avoiding severe stress on domestic water, the food supply and our native landscape is to monitor and measure underground water. At the moment we are like the driver of a car with an increasingly faulty speedo -- racing towards the unknown without having much idea how fast we are going. It is time that everyone -- governments, industry, municipalities and the community began to take this issue more seriously." Discussion Paper Launched for Queensland The Queensland Government has released a discussion paper on a 30-year strategy for Queensland's water sector for public consultation. The paper will guide the development of a 30-year strategy to ensure affordable, secure, sustainable and high- quality water and sewerage services across Queensland. Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the Queensland Government is committed to lowering the cost of living. "It's vital that we appropriately plan for our future water and sewerage needs, given the cost impact of these services on households, businesses, local governments and community groups," he said. "All aspects of the water industry will be examined." The discussion paper is available on the Department of Energy and Water Supply's website at www.dews.qld.gov.au (search for 'water sector strategy'). Submissions close Friday 29 March 2013. John Holland Awarded Two Major Contracts John Holland has been awarded two contracts for major water infrastructure services on behalf of Sydney Water. John Holland will provide the project management services associated with Sydney Water's Networks and Facilities Renewal Program (NFRP), as part of a joint venture with Lend Lease. The Project Management Service Provider (PMSP) joint venture, will manage Sydney Water's projects through their lifecycle, from conception to commissioning and handover. John Holland was also awarded a third contract extension for the Priority Sewerage Program (PSP) to deliver additional sewerage works to six communities in environmentally sensitive areas around Sydney. John Holland, as part of the award- winning PSP Alliance, will deliver program and project management, as well as design, procurement, delivery and commissioning works. Stage 3, which has a total budget of approximately $150 million, is required to be delivered over the next two years.
Water Journal April 2013
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