Water, Government - Federal Government Announces Drought Plan
The federal government has reached a deal to send more Murray River water to farmers and have Adelaide turn on the Port Stanvac Desalination to address the city's water needs.
The desalination plant in Lonsdale, SA has been operating at 10 percent of its capacity to keep it functioning, but is capable of taking salt out of 100 gigaliters of sea water per year. The agreement between the federal and state governments will increase production to provide 40 gigaliters of water this financial year, and a further 60 gigaliters in the 2020/21 financial year. Premier Steven Marshall said today that the Federal Government would pay for all the cost of ramping up desalination plant production.
"We are prepared to provide support, but we will not jeopardize our own water security or do anything that increases costs to South Australians," said Premier Steven Marshall, noting that water rates will not be impacted by all this. "As part of this deal we have also secured a $10 Million South Australian Drought Resilience Fund which will be available for our farmers."
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said, "This is the right thing to do at a time of national urgency, and our agreement protects our water security, the cost of water in South Australia and helps drought-affected farmers who are doing it very tough."
Fully activating the Port Stanvac Desalination Plant will free up a like amount of water upriver that will be offered to irrigators at $100 per megaliter, which must be used to grow feed for livestock. As many as 6,000 farmers would have access to 25 megaliters each.