Water Journal : Water Journal September 2013
water september 2013 12 CrossCurrent Federal Water Minister Mark Butler has announced $40 million in funding for three new environmental water recovery initiatives in the Murray-Darling Basin. The Federal Labor Government is investing more than $12 billion in the Murray-Darling Basin to ensure healthy rivers, strong communities and sustainable food and fibre production for current and future generations. Around 300 billion litres of Commonwealth environmental water will flow into the River Murray Valley in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia over the next seven months, helping rejuvenate natural assets like the Lower Lakes in South Australia. Meeting in Canberra last month, National Water Commissioners considered a range of issues and activities aimed at improved water planning and water management. Commissioners also met with the President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Duncan Fraser. Together they discussed matters of shared interest including the agriculture sector’s emphasis on water access and on-farm water efficiency benefits, and the NFF’s Blueprint for Australian Agriculture. New South Wales The New South Wales Government appears divided over whether it should intervene to ensure councils add fluoride to their water supplies. The issue has been thrown into the spotlight by a number of council decisions on the state’s north coast. Last month the Lismore City Council followed the lead set by neighbouring Byron Shire Council by deciding not to fluoridate its water. Health Minister Jillian Skinner says she is seeking legal advice on whether the State Government can force councils to add fluoride. The NSW Irrigators’ Council is in the midst of preparing its response to State Water’s bulk water pricing submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and says State Water’s objectives are crystal clear – they want to shift risk to customers. Stefanie Schulte, Council’s Economic Policy Analyst, says this is a clear case of a monopoly operator exercising unwarranted and unwelcome market power. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published the pricing proposal submitted by State Water Corporation for bulk water supply in the New South Wales Murray-Darling Basin. State Water supplies bulk water to around 6,200 customers in NSW. These customers include farms, irrigation corporations, local council town water suppliers and electricity generators. Cessnock is about to receive a $68 million investment in the electorate’s water and sewer system by Hunter Water, with the finishing touches being put to a major local water supply upgrade. Hunter Water is just two years into a six-year infrastructure program in the area, having already upgraded the Neath Pumping Station, increased the capacity of Branxton Waste Water Treatment works from 5,000 to 13,000 people and connected high-quality recycled water to The Vintage. Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Urban Water, Amanda Rishworth, has announced progress on the Googong Township’s integrated water cycle system. The Parliamentary Secretary said the Federal Government’s $5.1 million investment in the system, which is almost complete, will improve water security in the region by reducing demand on potable water supplies as the area grows. The Central Coast now has an extra year’s worth of water stored thanks to the Mardi-Mangrove Link pipeline. Since the pipeline started transferring water, more than 27,300 million litres have been stored in Mangrove Creek Dam. The NSW Government has announced that more than $100 million will be spent over the next five years to improve the Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant. Malabar Wastewater Treatment Plant is Sydney Water’s largest wastewater treatment facility and serves a population of 1.6 million people. Victoria The Victorian Government is appointing a new Victorian Mineral Water Committee. They are looking for people with abilities and experience in any of the following areas: hydrogeology, strategic planning, crown land management, landscape planning, heritage conservation, and grant assessment. The new committee will be required to review the Victorian Mineral Springs Master Plan, with a view to outline capital works and activities required in mineral spring reserves, as well as identifying issues and opportunities within each reserve. South East Water has extended its online offering with a new iPhone app, giving customers the ability to manage their account on the go. South East Water Managing Director, Kevin Hutchings, said research had shown more customers wanted to use online self-service and apps to manage their bills, with over 80 per cent of customers surveyed using a smartphone every day. The Victorian and Commonwealth governments have announced a new $100 million on-farm irrigation upgrade program that will save water for farmers and the environment across 54,000 hectares in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District. The Victorian Farm Modernisation Project is a win for both irrigators and the environment, with the project expected to deliver 53 gigalitres (GL) of water savings, of which 30GL will go to the environment. A new $84 million precinct on Frankston’s foreshore and the start of the Kananook Creek desilting project will revitalise the area and bring activity back to the waterway. Construction works have now begun for South East Water’s new head office in Frankston. South East Water will also start work this week to fulfil the Victorian Coalition Government’s $2.5 million commitment to de-silt Kananook Creek.
Water Journal August 2013
Water Journal November 2013