Michelle Lensink

POWER OUTAGES - SA WATER

My question is to the Minister for Water and the River Murray. What is SA Water's contingency plan for power failures affecting its assets, including pump stations, water treatment plants and gates, and what preparation did SA Water undertake in the lead-up to this event?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:28 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions. SA Water has contingency plans in place, of course, for these sorts of issues. They generally apply to backup generators and also letting water out of systems if that is what is required or, indeed, filling up tanks and systems so that the gravity feed water systems from those tanks will be sufficient to supply communities should the power go out.

It is the general policy of SA Water to talk closely with the SES and the Bureau of Meteorology in preparation for these events. We have gone through this previously. I am advised that the major sewerage treatment plants had backup generators so that the water could be kept pumping through, even those that are gravity fed, and also the water tanks, the header tanks that exist around the state, were filled up. My advice is that where there are sewerage issues that rely on energy or electricity to pump them through, we have a plan in place where teams will go out with generators and supply electricity to clean out those pits, and they will do that on a regular basis to try to reduce any risks to the community.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:29 ): Supplementary: can the minister provide a list of assets, which were affected by the power failure?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:29 ): All assets are affected by the power failure; the question is—

The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: Which aren't operating.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: All SA Water's water assets are operating, all SA Water's sewerage assets are operating. As I said, the only issue is for those areas where there is currently no electricity. The provision we have in place for those is that we have filled up the header tanks so that there is sufficient water supply in those places. If the electricity stays out, we will have to go and either take generators around or manually fill those header tanks. Those contingencies are being kept under advisement by SA Water. In terms of sewerage assets, the ones I mentioned, small pits or sewerage assets where we rely on electricity to do the pumping, where they don't have electric backups because they are so small and supply so few places, we are physically going around with teams with the generators to do that pumping to keep those pits emptied.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK ( 14:30 ): Supplementary: does the minister have a list of which of those sewerage outlets are a problem, and will he provide them to us?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 14:30 ): No, I don't have such a list, although I am sure SA Water does, and, if the honourable member would like, I can ask them to provide it.

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