Water Journal : Water Journal July 2012
crosscurrent 10 JULY 2012 water regular features The Gillard Government will invest $350 million to support water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, continuing its commitment to irrigation infrastructure in this year's budget. "The Gillard Government has made clear that we are committed to delivering a plan for the Murray-Darling Basin that restores our rivers to health, and ensures strong regional communities and sustainable food production," Mr Burke said. "That's why we are committing additional funds to support modernisation of irrigation infrastructure, helping irrigators improve water efficiency on farms. The National Water Commission has published an update to its December 2010 position statement on coal seam gas. The update addresses the issue of estimating co-produced water volumes. Ten new innovative desalination research projects will share in $2.7 million from the Australian Government funded National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA). The second in the Graham Centre's series of monographs is now available. Written by Professor Kath Bowmer, Water Resource Protection in Australia: Water quality and quantity as a feature of agricultural land management systems is a major review of the subject area Professor Bowmer has worked on over the past three years. The Graham Centre monograph series aims to provide an in-depth review of topics relevant to agricultural systems in southern Australia. The Graham Centre is a strategic research alliance between Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Australia's consulting engineering, architecture and associated industries are set to experience a chaotic next three years with continual restructures required in order to remain globally competitive, according to Consult Australia's 2012 Economic Forecast Report. The Report, written by former BHP Chief Economist, Geoffrey Bills, is considered one of the industry's most valuable economic predictors and is used by many of Australia's largest firms, including Parsons Brinkerhoff, SMEC, Hyder, GHD and AECOM. The ACCC is required to provide the minister (currently the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) with reports on the results of its monitoring, consistent with an agreement between the minister and the ACCC. The purpose of the ACCC undertaking monitoring is to inform the minister and stakeholders more broadly about regulated water charges and transformation arrangements, and the degree of compliance with the rules, in the MDB. The ACCC has provided the second monitoring report to the minister covering the 2010--2011 financial year. In May 2012, the Governor-General amended the water information provisions of the Water Regulations 2008. Changes have been made to each of the 10 water information categories to enhance the quality and usefulness of water information received by the Bureau of Meteorology. Most of the changes will take effect on 5 July 2012, except for the amendment relating to a new Person Category (Category J -- Owners or Operators of Hydrologically Significant Sites), which will not come into effect before 2013. The amendments were drafted following consultation undertaken in 2011. Many of the comments received through this consultation were incorporated into the amendments. Western Australia Degrémont and partner, Transfield Services, have been selected by the Water Corporation to operate and maintain the water production and wastewater treatment assets of Perth. The contract is to operate and maintain, in partnership with Water Corporation and Transfield Services, 19 water treatment plants, 14 wastewater treatment plants and two advanced water recycling plants as well as 13 dams. It will start in July 2012, for a period of 10 years, with a possible further extension of five years. Esperance community members are invited to have their say in the development of a plan to ensure the continued availability of high-quality drinking water. Department of Water Manager, Water Source Protection Planning, Nigel Mantle, said the released Esperance Water Reserve Drinking Water Source Protection Plan: Draft for Public Comment is part of a strategy that aims to protect drinking water sources throughout Western Australia. The Liberal-National Government has delivered its fourth State Budget. The key initiatives within the budget that affect the water sector include $3.7 billion on capital works to be delivered by the Water Corporation, Department of Water, Aqwest and Busselton Water Board over the next four years, to upgrade and build essential new water infrastructure. The Government of Australia will invest $28m to investigate priority groundwater sources to better serve future water demands in Western Australia. As part of the groundwater investigations, the Government will oversee water availability in a number of aquifer systems. Some investigations will determine the potential to safely abstract more water from currently used sources. Western Australia Water Minister, Bill Marmion, said $21m in funding from Royalties for Regions will cover four years of investigations in priority areas in the South Coast, South- West, Mid-West, Pilbara and Kimberley. A new water allocation plan for the Peel region will provide certainty about groundwater availability for a range of important industries while supporting growth in the region. Water Minister, Bill Marmion, said the Murray groundwater allocation plan confirmed that 40 gigalitres of water was available for licencing. "Groundwater in the Murray area is a vital resource for the regional economy," Mr Marmion said. "It supports agriculture, horticulture, mining, industrial, urban and recreational activities as well as the internationally recognised significant ecosystems and wetlands of the Peel region."
Water Journal August 2012
Water Journal May 2012