Archived Industry News for Water Professionals - June, 2012
The Murray-Darling Ministerial Council has convened at Canberra to consider the current draft Basin Plan and broader water management issues.
The council, headed by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke and attended by his Murray-Darling state counterparts, met to consider major issues raised by the state surround the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Draft Basin Plan.
The major issues discussed at the meeting were
- Apportionment of the shared 'downstream' component of Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) reductions;
- Potential to incorporate an SDL adjustment mechanism into the Basin Plan with the objective of enhancing environmental outcomes and reducing socio-economic impacts;
- Proposed groundwater SDLs; and
- The merits of a formal review of SDLs in 2015, (as is currently proposed in the draft Plan).
The Queensland Government has accepted the Queensland Competition Authority’s final report and recommendation for Sunwater’s new five-year rural irrigation price path.
The South Australian Government has called on all users of the Murray-Darling River Basin to support the sustainable use of the water system, with State Water Minister Paul Caica saying that the time for resolving the over-allocation is fast approaching.
“We acknowledge the many responses to the draft Strategic Regional Land Use policy and will continue to refine the policy over the next few months to ensure NSW has the strongest regulation of mining and gas extraction in Australia, if not the world."
Murray-Darling Basin states are squaring off in the lead up to the COAG meeting this Friday which will discuss the revised Murray Darling Basin Plan that was released at the end of May.
The largest study ever undertaken in Australia to investigate and address public perceptions of drinking recycled water will be led by UNSW’s Journalism and Media Research Centre (JMRC).
The research will form the basis of a national education and engagement program which will give Australians access to evidence-based information about the production and consumption of recycled water.
UNSW’s Faculty of Engineering and School of Public Health and Community Medicine, along with 30 national and international organisations, are collaborating on the $10 million research project which is funded by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence.
Academic leader of the project and Director of the JMRC, Professor Catharine Lumby, said the outcomes of the cross-disciplinary investigation will be significant for the water industry globally.
“Recycled drinking water is already accepted in other countries around the world. In Australia, local policies, stigmas and public perceptions have often prevented recycled water being considered for potable use,” said Professor Lumby.
Professor Judy Motion, a leading expert in science communication based at the JMRC, said the project is designed to engage the public in a dialogue, rather than railroad them into drinking recycled water.
“Our aim is to find the best way of communicating new information to the Australian public, educators and decision makers by exploring the growing role that online and social media play in science communication.”
Associate Professor Greg Leslie of the School of Chemical Science and Engineering acknowledged Australians wanted more information about drinking recycled water and the process of producing it.
“A key part of this project will be investigating what Australians want to know and how scientists can better communicate issues of reliability and quality control,” said Professor Leslie.
The $10 million funding to UNSW is part of The Australian Government’s $20 million commitment over five years to the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, through the Water for the Future initiative.
For more information on the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence visit www.australianwaterrecycling.com.au.
Sydney Water has completed a $6.9 million 2.1 kilometre section of the Canterbury Bankstown Submain upgrade, which has significantly boosted the long term reliability of the system.
The Western Australian Department of Water is calling for comment on a new state-wide guideline aimed at clarifying water management regulations for the resources industry.
The Federal Government has passed the National Water Commission Amendment Bill through Parliament, meaning the commission will continue its role of overseeing the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) national water agenda.
The Queensland Government has announced an immediate halt to the Solar Hot Ware Rebate program, saying the move will save the state an estimated $10 million in savings.
The South Australian Government has announced it has committed $2 million for the Fight for The Murray campaign in its bid to bring the community’s opinion to the forefront of the national debate.
The Board of ACTEW Corporation has decided it will fully integrate the water and sewerage operations currently undertaken by ActewAGL Water Division into ACTEW from 1 July 2012. Water and sewerage will be managed under the trading name of Actew Water.
The National Water Council’s (NWC) CEO James Cameron has called for State Governments to meet their obligations under the National Water Initiative by providing Indigenous Australians with ready access to water resources for cultural and economic purposes.
The Queensland Government has introduced the South East Queensland Water (Distribution Retail and Restructuring) Amendment Bill, which will enable Council-owned water businesses to manage their workforces in the same way as any other organisation.
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has urged the Federal Government to conduct modeling for an increase to 4,000 gigalitres, saying that failure to do so would limit the capacity to understand the trade-offs of a lower environmental flow.