Water Matters - Issue 9
The report will inform key water planning and management decisions for Perth and the south-west of the state
Sustainable Yields Project Director Cr Tom Hatton from CSIRO delivers a copy of the final report to Senator Penny Wong
The most comprehensive assessment of water yields and demands to 2030 ever undertaken for south-west Western Australia, was released by Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, Senator Penny Wong, in early March.
Senator Wong said the findings of CSIRO's South-West Western Australia Sustainable Yields (SWSY) Project were sobering.
"It highlights the likelihood of a further reduction in Perth's water supplies by 2030, which is of considerable concern," she said.
The research, which will inform key water planning and management decisions for Perth and the entire south-west of the state, found the region could face a 24 per cent reduction in surface water yields by 2030 under a median future climate, according to CSIRO project leader, Dr Don McFarlane.
Dr McFarlane said groundwater yields held up much better, with only a two per cent net reduction under a median future climate.
"Under a worst case scenario, surface water yields could drop by 49 per cent and groundwater by seven per cent," he said.
The SWSY project was conducted over 18 months. It covered an area more than 62,000 square kilometres, extending from Geraldton, 424 kilometres north of Perth, to Albany on the south coast, and supports more than 1.9 million people.
The SWSY project builds on CSIRO's successful Murray-Darling Basin, Northern Australia and Tasmania Sustainable Yields projects.
You can learn more at www.csiro.au/partnerships/SWSY.html
New! Environmental watering image gallery
To see which sites have benefited from environmental watering, view our Environmental watering gallery at www.environment.gov.au/water/gallery/cewh/index.html
Eighteen per cent of farmers say they plan to sell some or all of their permanent water entitlements in the coming years.
Both total area of irrigated land and water application to the land have decreased in the past few years.
The dry conditions and challenges many irrigators face are apparent, with many adapting their farming practices, improving irrigation infrastructure, selling and trading water entitlements and even exiting the industry.
From 2005/06 to 2007/08, the total area of irrigated land reduced by 42 per cent, correlating with a 57 per cent reduction in water application to the land (ABARE, 2009).
In the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) December 2009 report An economic survey of irrigation farms in the Murray-Darling Basin: Industry overview and region profiles 2007-08, findings revealed that in 2007/08 an estimated four per cent of irrigators in the Basin were involved in either buying or selling permanent water entitlements, with about 30 per cent trading temporary water.
About 18 per cent of farmers within the Murray-Darling Basin indicated they were planning to sell some or all of their permanent entitlements between 2007/08 - 2010/11 (ABARE 2009).
Between 2007/08 and 2008/09, total trade of entitlements increased by 95 per cent, resulting in 5766 trades taking place for roughly 1800 gigalitres (GL) worth of entitlements - 1080 GL of these traded in the southern connected Murray-Darling Basin (NWC, 2009).
Overall, the value of water market transactions for 2008/09 was estimated to be around $2.8 billion. These figures indicate that water trading has given irrigators and other water users more flexibility in adjusting to climatic and economic pressures NWC, 2009).
To view ABARE's full report, visit: www.abare.gov.au/publications_html/landwater/landwater_09/landwater_09.html
For information on Australian Government water entitlement purchases visit www.environment.gov.au/water/policy-programs/entitlement-purchasing/index.html
For more information about current tenders visit www.environment.gov.au/water/programs/index.html
As at 28 February 2010, the Australian Government had secured the purchase of 798 gigalitres of water entitlements, worth a total of $1.27 billion.
References can be found at the end of this document.
A word from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is preparing the Basin Plan – a strategic plan for the integrated and sustainable management of water resources across the whole Basin.
A key component of the planning process has been to engage with a broad range of people from across the Basin to inform them about how the Basin Plan is being developed and to encourage them to participate in the development of the Plan.
George Cooley (Lake Eyre Community Advisory Committee) speaking to delegates at the Northern Basin Indigenous gathering at Moree, 9 - 10 December 2009
What we have heard so far
Listening to what people have to say is an important part of the process. The voices are diverse and come from all over the Basin. Feedback received by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority includes:
'Water is vital for our health and our culture and I know we all recognise the cultural, social, economic and environmental values in healthy rivers.'
'We have to work out good methods to address the pain and the people, who through no fault of their own, are going to have to wear some of the changes.'
'It is more than the drought, which is horrific, it really is overallocation of water. The river hasn't run to sea since 2001.'
'We want transparency. We want to know more about the trade-offs.'
'Irrigators have a true understanding of their farms and rivers and need to be considered. Irrigators are feeling so battled and bruised by the drought. This is another elephant coming over the hill.'
'The Authority needs to get involved with the stakeholders and together come up with a solution. This is a good start but only a start.'
Public comment period
With the release of the draft Basin Plan mid this year, there will be a 16 week formal public consultation period. This will include a round of regional community workshops along with a range of opportunities for discussion and questions to help people develop their formal submissions.
The first Basin Plan will be released in 2011.
The challenges for any effective engagement program are many. For us, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, they include:
- the large number of stakeholders – two million people within the Basin, the broader community and future generations
- the large geographic area (about 14 per cent of Australia)
- the complexity of the issues which are difficult to communicate and resolve
- the significance of the changes and likely impacts
- the short time frames to understand the science, identify how much water there is, how it is currently used and by whom, and to identify how much the environment needs and how communities will be impacted.
Due to the large number of stakeholder groups (over 1000) we have developed 'stakeholder maps' to help identify existing peak bodies, and established communication channels we can use to share information see www.mdba.gov.au/programs/engagement.
We are keen to keep these up to date so would appreciate any feedback.
Irrigation in the Central Tablelands
How we have engaged so far
MDBA's engagement activities on the Basin Plan include: information sessions and displays in regional areas at field days, conferences, and MDBA and Basin Community Committee meetings, forums for peak body groups, science and government agencies, the Murray Lower Darling Indigenous Nations group and the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations group.
In November 2009, we participated in the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts' community information sessions throughout the Basin. We will continue to participate in these sessions throughout 2010.
We have also released the Sustainable diversion limits issues paper for public comment and continue to develop new fact sheets as well as sending out regular emails to almost 1000 subscribers updating them on engagement activities, publications and updates to our website.
For more information
Visit our website www.mdba.gov.au/media_centre/subscribe to register for:
- our stakeholder engagement and website announcements
- our e-Letter for monthly news from the MDBA
- our media releases.
Call us on 1800 230 067 (free) or write to us GPO Box 1801, Canberra ACT 2601.
(ACCC: Media release issued: 25th March 2010)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has presented its advice to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority on the development of water trading rules.
The ACCC sets out trading rule advice and recommendations on a range of matters relating to water trading. These matters include restrictions to trade, administrative processes and information requirements for a functional water market.
In preparing its advice, the ACCC has considered matters raised during stakeholder consultations as well as the Basin water market and trading objectives and principles. The ACCC's advice will assist the MDBA to develop Basin-wide water trading rules. These rules will form an important step in improving the efficiency of water markets across the Murray-Darling Basin.
For more information visit: www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/920559
The Department is undertaking additional community information sessions at new locations across the Murray-Darling Basin in the first half of 2010.
All sessions for April will be held from 2pm – 5.30pm, at the following locations:
Town: Kerang, Victoria
Date: Thursday 29 April 2010
Address: Kerang Valley Resort, 76 Murray Valley Highway, Kerang
Town: Kyabram, Victoria
Date: Friday 30 April 2010
Address: Kyabram Club, 82 Allan Street, Kyabram
Water savings of 938 megalitres to be returned to the environment.
The savings represent the first water dividends from the Australian Government's investment into on-farm irrigation efficiency.
Irrigation at a winery in Orange, NSW
Photo: M McAulay & DEWHA
More than 1000 megalitres (ML) of water will be returned to the environment from water savings made through an Australian Government funded irrigation upgrade in the Lachlan River Catchment.
In March 2009, Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, Senator Penny Wong announced three successful projects under the $5.6 million On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency (Pilot Projects) program.
The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority was one of these and received $1.5 million in funding.
Reducing water losses on-farm is an important area for irrigation improvement and the 1000 ML in savings represents a significant milestone for the program as the first water savings made from on-farm infrastructure.
The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority pilot projects comprise of two sub-projects that are expected to deliver a total of 1295 ML of water savings, 1014 ML of which will be transferred to the Commonwealth.
The Riverview Pivot Project has already provided 938 ML of water savings back to the Commonwealth to be returned to the Murray-Darling Basin's stressed rivers and wetlands, the first water dividend from the pilot program. The project involves laying pipes from two bores and one river pump site to irrigate 460 hectares on a privately owned property. Six centre pivot irrigators will also be installed.
The Merriment Modernisation and Water Efficiency Project, will construct a water reservoir with an inlet wetland, stormwater harvesting and improved irrigation tailwater recirculation. These modernisation works are expected to generate about 120ML of water savings, 100ML of which will be transferred to the Commonwealth as permanent entitlements for environmental use.
The success of these projects reflects both Australian Government and irrigation community commitment to addressing the key issues facing rural Australia and working together to build resilience in a future with less water.
Further information is available at: www.environment.gov.au/water/policy-programs/srwui/irrigation-efficiency/pilot.html
On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency: successful applicants from round one in-principle funding
Successful delivery partners of round one will share in $100 million of on-farm irrigation efficiency measures to benefit the Lachlan River Catchment and the southern-connected system of the Murray-Darling Basin.
The funding will allow over 550 irrigation infrastructure projects to be delivered on-farm including upgrading flood irrigation to more efficient drip and sprinkler systems, soil moisture monitoring, and covering on-farm storages to reduce evaporation losses.
The combined efforts of each project will have a positive impact on the health of the Basin and the strength of irrigated agriculture.
Further information is available at: www.environment.gov.au/water/policy-programs/srwui/irrigation-efficiency/pilot.html
|Applicants||State||Potential number of Irrigator sub-projects||Funding|
|Australian Processing Tomato Research Council Inc.||Vic/NSW||22||$11,710,000|
|South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board||SA||21||$1,659,000|
|Lachlan Catchment Management Authority||NSW||46||$3,846,000|
|Ricegrowers Association of Australia Inc.||NSW||52||$24,179,000|
|Murray Irrigation Limited||NSW||124||$32,786,000|
|Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority||Vic||291||$25,820,000|
(ABS: Media release issued: 28th January 2010)
Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends released by the ABS in January, shows an interesting snapshot of environmental issues in Australia revealing that Australians are now using less water, but more energy.
The report highlights that water use for agriculture has fallen by almost half in two years, with the biggest reductions occurring in New South Wales and Victoria, while the proportion of households using water saving devices has doubled between 1994 and 2007.
However, water storage levels in Australia's 'food bowl', the Murray-Darling Basin, were down to less than one third of capacity at the end of October 2009.
While water consumption fell, energy use rose. Australia's heavy reliance on fossil fuels, especially for power generation, has seen greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector rise by almost one-half since 1990, however emissions per head of population fell by 12 per cent for the same period.
Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends 2010 (cat. no. 4613.0), is available for free download at www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4613.0?OpenDocument
Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies aims to save
- 620,000 litres of water
- 239,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and
- 313 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year
Photo: Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies
The Australian Government's Green Precincts Fund encourages water and energy saving measures in the community.
13 high-profile projects received Green Precincts funding of up to $1.5 million to demonstrate water conservation and renewable energy initiatives in communities across Australia.
Eight months down the track, 12 projects are progressing well through their planning and construction stages, and one project – a solar farm feasibility study – is complete.
One project example, the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) community environment park, located on the banks of Merri Creek in East Brunswick, Melbourne, received $1.15 million to support their Zero Emissions by 2012 project.
CERES aims to save 620,000 litres of water, 239,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 313 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year through innovative water and energy-saving initiatives.
A key part of the project involves installing a wind turbine, solar panels, a solar thermal energy generator, rainwater harvesting, on-site treatment of grey and black water, an electric-vehicle charging station and even a biogas powered barbeque.
Hydronic heating reticulation at the Van Raay Centre
Photo: Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies
To date, many of the new passively designed building elements are complete, including the fit out of double-glazed doors, windows and skylights and best practice ceiling and floor insulation at the Eco House and the Education Centre; and hydronic heating, hot water heat pumps and energy efficient lighting at the Van Raay Centre.
CERES is generating international interest in the aquaponics component of the project; this will demonstrate intensive food production (vegetables and fish) using a zero emissions power source.
Enthusiasm for community engagement and education has seen the development of a community engagement program, running weekly events for the public. With the Centre attracting more than 450,000 visitors each year, including 65,000 tertiary and school students, it already has an interested audience.
CERES also runs regular community workshops to update staff, volunteers and the community about the carbon neutral initiatives as they are implemented.
For more information on the Green Precincts Fund projects visit: www.environment.gov.au/water/policy-programs/green-precincts
Dr Kelly and the award winners Julia Seddon, Group Environmental Manager and George Shlahtych, Inghams Enterprises
Photo: Australian Water Association
Congratulations to the 2010 Prime Minister's Water Wise Award winner Inghams Enterprises.
The Prime Minister's Water Wise Award recognises water efficiency excellence by commercial and industrial water users.
The announcement of the award was made by Parliamentary Secretary for Water, Dr. Mike Kelly during his address at the Australian Water Association Awards Dinner hosted in conjunction with the Ozwater Conference in March.
Inghams Enterprises took out the award for the development of their Advanced Water Treatment Plant (Murarrie) project. Poultry processing uses large volumes of water to ensure clean, safe food production. Inghams developed a holistic water management plan and installed an Advanced Water Treatment Plant and water efficient devices, to show a corporate commitment to a long-term water saving culture.
The Advanced Water Treatment Plant uses commercially available technology to treat wastewater from the poultry processing plant to drinking water quality. It uses a combination of physical, biological and chemical processes to treat the water, including biological nutrient removal, membrane separation techniques, ultraviolet radiation and chlorination.
Each of the award finalists demonstrated notable recent water savings within their organisations when compared to other similar facilities. Inghams Enterprises were one of five finalists, the other four finalists should be congratulated, they are:
- Amcor Australasia
- Coca-Cola Amatil
- Diageo Australia, and
- Rossdale Golf Club
Each of the finalists were selected on the basis of significant water savings, innovation, excellence in project delivery and high capacity for their approaches to be replicated at other similar facilities. Fact sheets on the winner and finalists are available on the Department's website.
For more information visit http://www.environment.gov.au/water/policy-programs/weo/pm-awards/index.html
The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme has been in operation for five years and is now due for mandatory review.
Leading the review is independent consultant, Dr Chris Guest who will soon publish a discussion paper and call for written submissions.
The WELS scheme mandates that specified household water-using products be registered and labelled for their water efficiency. Products included in the scheme are washing machines, dishwashers, showers, taps, toilets and urinals.
The Australian Government administers the scheme in cooperation with state and territory governments.
For more information on the review including the terms of reference, visit: www.environment.gov.au/welsreview
Twelve Councils and corporations have been awarded combined funding of $25.03 million to carry out water savings initiatives, preparing their towns for a future with less water by improving urban water security.
|Bathurst Regional Council||$126,524||Waterwise Bathurst - managing water loss through effective and efficient technology project, developing technically sound management techniques as well as improving flow measurement and pressure reduction in the urban residential zone.|
|Goldenfields Water County Council||$7.5 million||Cowans Reservoir to Bauloora Reservoir pipeline replacement project, replacing nearly 30 kilometres of badly deteriorated pipeline from the Cowangs Reservoir, through the Cootamundra township to the Bauloora Reservoirs.|
|Griffith City Council||$659,860||Griffith and villages water savings project, assisting the Council to reduce overall demands on the potable water system by implementing several water saving initiatives as well as a public water wise education program.|
|Macedon Ranges Shire Council||$1.2 million||Kyneton recycled water scheme, connecting Kyneton Open Space (including the Kyneton Botanic Gardens, Barkly Square Recreation Reserve and the Kyneton Showgrounds) to a recycled water supply via Coliban Waters' recycled water network.|
|Lachlan Shire Council||$9.27 million||Securing the water supply for the townships of Lake Cargelligo, Murrin Bridge, Tullibigeal and Kikiora. Funding will assist the Council to reduce water losses by equipping and connecting a bore located 28 kilometres from Lake Cargelligo to the Lake Cargelligo water filtration plant and involves installing tanks and pumps as well as laying around 29 kilometres of pipeline.|
|The District Council of Loxton Waikerie||$1.12 million||Loxton water recycling scheme, maximising the amount of harvested stormwater and treated effluent for non-potable use as well as enlarging the existing stormwater retention basins, construction of a new stormwater retention basin with linkages to the Loxton effluent lagoon, and an aquifer storage and recovery scheme.|
|Maranoa Regional Council||$24,500||Maranoa Regional Council water saving initiatives program, to operate water utilities more efficiently by reducing the amount of water lost in the network and conserve supply through demand management techniques.|
|Central Highlands Region Water Corporation||$938,000||Maryborough potable and raw water leak reduction, water main renewal and pressure reduction program, involving an accelerated program of water main replacement and leak detection of the potable water system and replacement of the highest risk raw water main.|
|Young Shire Council||$1.5 million||Young sewerage effluent reuse scheme, saving 380 megalitres of potable water a year by using treated effluent to water Young's municipal parks, gardens, cemetery and sporting fields.|
|Narrandera Shire Council||$905,299||Narrandera sewer reuse scheme, to install infrastructure allowing the local racecourse and golf course to be irrigated from treated effluent. The wastewater treatment facility will be upgraded to allow for a more ready reuse of effluent, improve environmental compliance and remote control management.|
|Coliban Region Water Corporation||$1.3 million||Serpentine alternative water source project, which will also modernise several open channel domestic and stock systems by installing pipelines to connect to the 'backbone' irrigation system in the Pyramid-Boort irrigation area.|
|Wakool Shire Council||$400,000||Murray Downs raw water reuse scheme, reducing the amount of potable water used for outdoor activities such as watering lawns, gardens and car washing by introducing a reuse water scheme to the township of Murray Downs.|
Strengthening Basin Communities is an Australian Government program under Water for the Future, a $12.9 billion initiative preparing Australia for a future with less water. For more information about Strengthening Basin Communities visit www.environment.gov.au/water/policy-programs/basin-communities/index.html.
References for Water Market snapshot article
Ashton, D, Hooper, S, Oliver, M 2009, An economic survey of irrigation farms in the Murray-Darling Basin: Industry overview and region profiles 2007-08, ABARE Research report 09.21, pp. i – 14, ABARE, Canberra. http://www.abare.gov.au/publications_html/landwater/landwater_09/landwater_09.html
National Water Commission, December 2009, Australian Water Markets Report 2008-2009, accessed 8 January 2010 http://www.nwc.gov.au/www/html/2693-water-markets-report---december-2009.asp?intSiteID=1