The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:29): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing
a question to the Minister for Water and the River Murray on the subject of the Middle River
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Kangaroo Island is currently undergoing the worst seasonal
conditions since 1959. The Middle River Reservoir supplies Parndana and Kingscote townships by
pipeline, and also Emu Bay and the American River townships through standpipe supply, and
numerous other properties for stock water along the way. The Middle River Reservoir catchment has
been particularly impacted by the adjoining blue gum forestry plantations and consequently this has
affected the water supply to the reservoir. There is a significant risk that those who rely on the Middle
River Reservoir may run out of water in the coming summer period, which happens to be the majority
of the island's residents.
What contingencies does the government have for Kangaroo Island residents and farmers
who rely on the Middle River Reservoir in the event that it fails in this coming summer?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation,
Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) (14:30): I thank the
honourable member for her most important question. If we go back to the Water for Good plan, I
think released in 2009, it shows that we have put in place planning to provide our state with the most
secure water supply system in southern Australia. Action 64 in Water for Good requires that regional
demand and supply statements are developed for all eight Natural Resource Management regions
in South Australia.
The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources has completed the Kangaroo
Island demand and supply statement, which was released in November 2015. The main finding of
the statement is that, with some pre-planned augmentation of the water supply system, sufficient
supplies exist for both drinking and non-drinking water and no shortfalls are expected to occur before
2050. The statement was developed with the assistance of the Kangaroo Island NRM Board's Water
Resource Task Force and underwent consultation with major stakeholder groups on the island. This
included the Kangaroo Island Council, Regional Development Australia, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and
Kangaroo Island, Kangaroo Island Futures Authority, Primary Producers Organisation, Agricultural
Kangaroo Island and environmental group Eco-Action.
The regional demand and supply statements I have spoken about in this chamber before, I
think in response to questions from the Hon. Mr Brokenshire about Eyre Peninsula (I think that's
right), of all water resources in a region, both drinking and non-drinking quality, prescribed and
non-prescribed, and to list the current and future major demands on the water resources, particularly
in relation to growth of industry, growth of population and project when demand for water is expected
to exceed supply. The process takes into account climate change projections, population growth and
economic development and once the demand and supply statement has been prepared it is reviewed
annually to ensure data remains up to date.
If projections indicate that demand is likely to exceed supply in the foreseeable future, as
Minister for Water and the River Murray I will establish a planning process and we will reassess
supply and demand conditions on the basis of that information. The planning process is triggered
five years prior to when a demand and supply statement envisages that demand will exceed supply
or on the basis of other information coming forward.
As I mentioned in this place yesterday, I was over on Kangaroo Island as part of the country
cabinet visit. Water issues were discussed with us as a cabinet into the foreseeable future. The
general manager of SA Water was there in attendance and talked to many members of the
community about future projections. He reassured the community and reassured us that in fact there
is adequate supply with the augmentation that I mentioned earlier in my opening remarks, that have
been in plan for some time now.
That work is continuing, as indeed are other capital works across the state as part of
SA Water's ongoing contribution to upgrading and renewing our infrastructure for the foreseeable
future. There won't be any shortfall despite concerns the honourable member has raised about the
Middle River catchment. Those concerns were shared with us but they were ameliorated, I think, by
the direct intervention of Mr Cheroux in conversations he had at KI when country cabinet was there.