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Water for the Future

The greater Adelaide metropolitan area currently consumes some 310 gigalitres of mains water per annum in an average year. Of this, 88 gigalitres is drawn from the Murray River.

Needless to say, factors including wide-spread drought throughout the Murray-Darling Basin, and the ever increasing emphasis being placed on reducing the nation's reliance on waterways such as the Murray (including plans to increase environmental flows and reduce the total amount of water available for use) all will have significant impact on Adelaide's future water supply.

With that in mind, the City of Salisbury has backed a 'Waterwise' strategy to potentially harvest up to 60 gigalitres of stormwater per annum across greater Adelaide. Supplemented by increased use of reclaimed water (treated effluent) of up to 50GL/annum and the 'insurance policy' provided by the 100GL/annum desalination plant, the strategy could bring Adelaide's net demand from the River Murray to 0! The strategy would also reduce pressure on the groundwater resource and significantly reduce stormwater run-off (and the associated pollutant load) to the marine environment. The strategy also recognises that it is not appropriate to harvest water to the detriment of either the marine or terrestrial environment through which the water runs.

Rather than focussing on the process of recycling water from stormwater flows in isolation, Salisbury's projects have been developed as a component of Council's Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan (IWCMP), which encompasses other important environmental protection and sustainable development issues, including flood protection and environmental flow management. This helps to ensure that harvesting of water from catchments is achieved in a sustainable manner, and still permits stormwater to flow through the catchment in a manner which emulates, to the extent possible, the catchment prior to urbanisation.

To progress this strategy, Salisbury has joined forces with other Councils, the NRM Board, the LGA and the State Office of Water Security, and has been successful in securing substantial grant funding under the Federal Government's 'Water for the Future Program'. It is envisaged that in the long-term, the full development of the projects will have potential to supply up to 20 per cent of Adelaide's annual water needs with recycled stormwater.

In the Round 1 of the 'Water for the Future Program', Salisbury secured $9M in grant funding for the Unity Park Bio-Filtration Scheme which will harvest up to 1.3GL of stormwater per year in addition to the existing harvesting scheme at Unity Park, Pooraka. The project features the application of a small footprint treatment technology (bio-filtration) that could pave the way for widespread application in urban areas across Australia, which do not have space for major reuse of urban stormwater. The project commenced work in November 2009 and was completed in June 2013.

Further details of the bid can be found at the following websites:

Government of South Australia Sustainable Water

South Australian Government's plan to secure sustainable water supplies for our health, our way of life, our economy and our environment.

Environment SA Water

The federal Governments Water for the Future home page, taking action on climate change, securing water supplies and using water wisely.