Water Journal : Water Journal December 2011
crosscurrent 8 DECEMBER 2011 water regular features International The Australian Government has flown a large desalination unit to drought-stricken Tuvalu; the unit is capable of turning 50,000 litres of seawater a day into clean drinking water. Australia is also working with authorities to have existing desalination units on Funafuti and Nanumanga Islands in full operation. National The Productivity Commission Report on Australia's urban water sector has been released. The report follows a year-long inquiry established to consider the case for further reform in the sector. Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the urban water sector plays an important role in providing the vast majority of drinking water, recycled water and wastewater services in Australia. The National Health and Medical Research Council has released the 2011 version of Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG). The guidelines provide the Australian community and the water supply industry with guidance on what constitutes good quality drinking water. The upgraded Community Water Planner, a web-based tool designed to assist small communities to develop drinking water management plans, will be released at the same time. The CWP covers microbial, physical, chemical and radiological risks to water supply. The Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence has announced up to $2 million of funding is now available for applied and strategic research projects that quantitatively demonstrate and/or enhance the social, economic or environmental value of water recycling in Australia. If you are interested in submitting an Expression of Interest, visit the Centre's website. The COAG Reform Council has issued its second annual report on the Water Management Partnerships. The report claims that progress on water-saving investment projects in the Basin has been too slow, with only one of 13 state-led projects having been completed. The Council said the risk that timeframes for delivering the Plan would be further extended would affect the Commonwealth's ability to deliver the proposed plan in 2012, as well as the Basin states' ability to meet a range of associated water planning milestones. National Water Commission Chair Ms Chloe Munro said the COAG Reform Council's findings are consistent with the Commission's recent assessment of water reform progress under the National Water Initiative. Australia's first National Water Account has been released. Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the Bureau of Meteorology's delivery of the National Water Account was a landmark achievement. Eight regions were included: Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Murray-- Darling Basin, Ord, Perth, South-East Queensland and Sydney. The MDBA has launched a blog for open online conversations where anyone can ask questions and discuss the draft Basin Plan. The blog is available at www.freefow.mdba.gov.au The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) is calling on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to demonstrate how the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan achieves greater balance than last year's Guide. NFF President, Jock Laurie, said: "While we would welcome a mid-term review and the ability to reduce Sustainable Diversion Limits, on face value, what we're seeing from the MDBA's 'current thinking' on the draft Plan is that the actual figures do not look much different." Management of Commonwealth environmental water requires ongoing assessment of options, including whether water should be used within the current year, carried over for use in future years, or whether trade should occur (disposal or acquisition). Accordingly, DSEWPC has issued a discussion paper: 'Trading of Commonwealth environmental water'. Responses to the paper are sought by 27 April 2012 and can be sent to: email@example.com Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr has launched ACA Research's and waterAUSTRALIA's Water Industry Capability Report. Mr Carr said the unique approach of Australian firms to water policy, management, distribution and efficiency had been seized on globally. The report is based on a survey of more than 430 water firms, including manufacturers, technical support service providers, consultants, irrigators and infrastructure operators. It shows water industry businesses are turning over more than $4.2 billion annually and employing over 25,000 people. Queensland The direct management of water and wastewater services will be returned to the Gold Coast, Logan and Redland Councils under new legislation introduced into Queensland Parliament. Minister for Water Utilities Stephen Robertson said changes to the SEQ Water (Distribution and Retail) Restructuring Act (DR Act) would formalise the three councils' decisions to disband distributor- retailer Allconnex and take back their water businesses. The Queensland Minister for Energy and Water Utilities is encouraging irrigators to provide feedback on a draft report released by the Queensland Competition Authority on SunWater›s new five-year irrigation price path to commence 1 July next year. Mr Robertson said this is the first review of SunWater›s irrigation pricing by Queensland›s independent economic regulator. New South Wales Sydney Water has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to assess the impact of constructing and operating water and wastewater infrastructure to service the North West Growth Centre precincts of Box Hill, Box Hill Industrial and Schofields. Sydney Water Manager for Urban Growth, Sharon Davies, said the EA will be displayed at local community sites.
Water Journal April 2012
Water Journal November 2011