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Launch of Water Smart Australia Programme.



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PRIME MINISTER

LAUNCH OF WATER SMART AUSTRALIA PROGRAMME Today I am pleased to launch officially the Australian Government’s Water Smart Australia Programme and to announce the first of a number of projects that will be funded under this Programme.

Water Smart Australia is the $1.6 billion component of the $2 billion Australian Water Fund. The Water Smart Australia Programme is targeted at large-scale projects that will make a significant contribution to the sustainable and efficient management of Australia’s water resources.

Today I also announce investments in three major projects in Queensland that will go a long way to delivering better water management in areas of critical need in this state.

The three projects announced today represent investments totalling $96.35 million with $32.2 million of that provided by the Australian Government.

The Australian Government will provide $3.15 million over four years towards an investment of $9.45 million in a Gold Coast project which will reduce water leakage and stress on current water supplies and provide more water to the city through water savings of between 7 and 10 gigalitres per annum.

The Gold Coast project is an example of how this vibrant and growing city will benefit from additional water to the area through the largest and most comprehensive pressure reduction programme undertaken by an Australian water utility.

The Australian Government will also provide $28.8 million over five years towards the $86.4 million cost of the Mackay Wastewater Recycling project and $250,000 over two years towards a $500,000 feasibility study to scope out ways to reduce stress on groundwater systems in Bundaberg.

The projects present water solutions for current and future generations and represent the close cooperation and collaboration with State and Territory Governments that is needed to deliver water reform across the country.

The projects deliver on the Australian Government’s commitment to improve water management as outlined in the Securing Australia’s Water Future announcement at the last federal election.

I congratulate the Queensland Government and the local organisations involved in these projects for taking the initiative to find solutions to major water management challenges.

Details of the three projects are attached.

19 May 2005

www.pm.gov.au

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WATER SMART AUSTRALIA - QUEENSLAND PROJECTS

Gold Coast - Capturing water losses through pressure management Total funding: $9.45 million over four years, Australian Government contribution of $3.15 million.

This project will use innovative pressure management techniques to secure additional water supply for the city from realised water savings of between 7 and 10 gigalitres per annum. It will establish 108 separate metered areas in Gold Coast’s existing water supply reticulation system and install pressure reducing valves in the pipes to reduce leakage by approximately 14 per cent of total city consumption.

The project is the largest and most comprehensive pressure reduction program undertaken by an Australian water utility. It will play a significant role in demonstrating to the Australian water industry the benefits of water loss and pressure management as a means of improving water distribution efficiency, water use efficiency at the customer level and realising additional cost-effective water supplies. These outcomes will make a significant contribution to achieving the urban water industry objectives of the National Water Initiative.

The Australian Government investment allows the project to be implemented over a shorter time period which will maximise the water savings benefits and the demonstration value of the project.

Mackay Wastewater Recycling Project Total funding: $86.4 million over five years, Australian Government contribution of $28.8 million

This project will allow recycling of Mackay’s wastewater to better protect the Great Barrier Reef from 250 tonnes of nutrients every year, protect and rehabilitate overcommitted ground water resources at risk of seawater intrusion and provide agriculture with a secure source of supply.

Bundaberg groundwater rescue feasibility study and preliminary design Total funding: $500 000 over two years, Australian Government contribution of $250 000.

This project involves a feasibility study and preliminary design for a possible larger project which will substitute ground water allocations with equivalent surface water allocations, in the coastal parts of the Bundaberg area to reduce the stress on the ground water system.

19 May 2005