Michelle Lensink

Waterproofing Whyalla

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Water and the River Murray questions regarding Waterproofing Whyalla.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Whyalla City Council has been working on a project to reduce their reliance on the River Murray, known as Waterproofing Whyalla, which kicked off in 2011 with a goal to provide 100 per cent of recycled water to sporting ovals, schools and the council's own land, including median strips, the Bradford Street Reserve, Memorial Oval, Jubilee Park and other areas.

The project, it was anticipated, would save at least 265 million litres of potable water sourced from the River Murray each year, reduce pollutant discharge into Spencer Gulf, and provide the community with green streetscapes, community spaces, parks and ovals. The $5.7 million project was funded by the federal government to the tune of $2.7 million, our state government, $50,000, and the remainder by council. The project was completed in 2012 and is ready for use.

However, the council has not been able to commission its project because SA Water is supplying only 20 per cent of the volume originally agreed to, which doesn't allow the system to function, the quality of water is not suitable to run the system efficiently due to turbidity and algae in the water, which is clogging pumps and filters. This has resulted in cancellation or rescheduling of a number of events, including Monster Trucks, the Whyalla Gift, Relay for Life, SA Cricket Academy for primary students, SA Rugby and Women's Football First.

I am advised that there have been numerous conversations with SA Water, which has said that it will take two to three years to rectify the plant. So, the plant is not being used, even though it cost considerable sums. My questions are:

1.Is the minister aware of this issue?

2.Can the minister explain why the council needs to wait another two to three years to receive a response and a solution from SA Water?

3.Will the minister commit to an investigation into why this system is not working?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (15:18): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions. My answer to those three questions is: no, no and yes.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (15:18): I have a supplementary question. I am wondering whether the minister might further expand on that or whether he will bring some more detail back to us.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (15:18): My answer is yes.

 

 

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