Michelle Lensink

Water-Sensitive Urban Design

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation some questions in relation to water-sensitive urban design.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: South Australia is considered to be fairly small in the water-sensitive urban design space, as was revealed by the recent conference, but we have seen an increase in South Australia as a result of drought restrictions on water. The government's 'Water Sensitive Urban Design: Creating more liveable and water sensitive cities in South Australia' document details some performance targets and specific actions in relation to water-sensitive urban design, which are not mandatory and which leave the program unregulated.

A recent paper 'The Status of Water Sensitive Urban Design Schemes in South Australia' highlights successes and failures of implementation throughout the state and identifies that there is some continued resistance from the development sector and is unable to make a definitive statement as to the effectiveness of water-sensitive urban design in Adelaide. My questions to the minister are:

1.What is the minister's strategy for further implementation of water-sensitive urban design?

2.What strategies is the government considering in relation to engaging local government and the development sector to facilitate further implementation of water-sensitive urban design?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:32 :25 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions. Indeed, water-sensitive urban design has been something that has been agitated in terms of communities and local government as an issue for some time. It is something that we as a government have been very concerned about in terms of how we approach planning and how we deal with local governments in terms of planning and also how we go about design in regard to our own government buildings and usages of those buildings.

The honourable member probably knows about the Building Upgrade Finance (BUF) program that we are currently pursuing as part of our election promise, which has been slightly interrupted for the last several weeks through a frenzy of democracy out there in local government. But now that the results are coming in, we will re-engage with the new councils, the new councillors and new mayors around how we progress that, in particular, in relation to the City of Adelaide.

In terms of other policies in water-sensitive design, of course, that takes into consideration our stormwater management plan and it also takes into consideration our recharging of aquifers. At the moment, I think that we have the ability to store and manage and reuse about 20 gigalitres. We are aiming at an overall figure, in due course, of about 60 gigalitres but, of course, that is dependent on the quality of the aquifers we will be using.

Not all aquifers are the same; not all aquifers can stand up to pressurised water injection or, if they can, they may have only a limited amount of water they can take. All of that is part of our research program into the aquifers underlying the city of Adelaide and our suburbs; again, we are working in partnership with local government on that. As I have said, given that the elections are now out of the way, we will be back actively engaging with the LGA into those future plans.

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