Wetlands and Water
Towards Water Sensitive Cities
The City of Salisbury is committed to an ongoing strategy of sustainability, of which water conservation and management plays a critical part.
In recent years, water supply in South Australia has declined dramatically and after decades of mismanagement, the River Murray, from which South Australia takes half of its water supply, is proving to be an unreliable source. We recently faced the worst drought in 117 years and there is emerging evidence that climate change may be having a lasting effect on the supply of water into the system.
Fundamentally, we all share a responsibility and a need to move towards greater sustainability and water sensitive cities. The role that Local Government can play is integral in dealing with issues of sustainability, and there is extraordinary work being done across Australia to develop innovative and creative solutions.
The City of Salisbury has pioneered an approach to the better use of stormwater that demonstrates the potential of Local Government to contribute to this, a major public policy issue.
Download a copy of 'Towards Water Sensitive Cities (2009)'
PDF of Paper (62.8 kB)
PDF of Presentation (4.8 MB)
Salisbury's Journey Toward Sustainability
Adelaide, with an average annual rainfall of less than 600mm is the driest capital city in Australia.
We draw around half of our metropolitan water consumption of 185 Gigalitres per annum from the River Murray (up to 90 per cent in a dry year). Around 70 per cent of this drinking standard water is used in industry, on our gardens, or to flush our toilets!
Quite apart from the contribution of this demand to the loss of vital environmental flows in the River Murray there is a serious danger that increasing salinisation will make the river unusable within the foreseeable future. It is crucial that Adelaide looks for wider opportunities for supply than are provided by the river.
Despite our low rainfall, Adelaide's total water consumption is less than the amount that falls in precipitation. Indeed, the volume of stormwater that flows annually into the Gulf St Vincent is equivalent to our total consumption. Just the stormwater flowing through Salisbury is equivalent to 26 per cent of Adelaide's take from the River Murray in an average year.
So, at great expense, we suck our water from the River Murray where it is contributing to the decline of that river, treat and distribute it to our homes and industries, where most of it is used only to flush our toilets and feed our plants. At the same time, rainfall at great expense is sent as stormwater into the Gulf where it is debilitating our marine environment.
As the debate on climate change and sustainability continues, the City of Salisbury has developed an innovative and exciting program to combat the emerging crisis which threatens the availability of water to urban communities.
For information on this program, download a PDF of the Historical Development Paper (47.5 kB)