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Tenders called for Menindee Lakes water savings project in western NSW.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Senator the Hon Penny Wong Australian Minister for Climate Change and Water

The Hon Nathan Rees MP New South Wales Minister for Water

29 August 2008

TENDERS CALLED FOR MENINDEE LAKES WATER SAVINGS PROJECT IN WESTERN NSW

The Federal Government and the New South Wales Government today called for tenders for the next stage (Part B) of the Darling River Water Savings Project in far Western New South Wales.

The Darling River Water Savings Project aims to increase water availability in the Murray-Darling Basin by reducing the amount of water lost through evaporation from the Menindee Lakes.

The New South Wales and Australian governments have each committed $650,000 to this project.

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, said the project aimed to help address some of the huge challenges faced in the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The Rudd Government is taking action to meet these challenges,” Senator Wong said.

“We have committed $3.1 billion to return water to Basin rivers and wetlands, and $5.8 billion to upgrade irrigation infrastructure and help communities adjust to a new cap on water use.

“But with current record low inflows into the Murray-Darling Basin system and after years of over-allocation, drought and climate change, there is a great deal of work still required to make the Basin sustainable.

“The Darling River Water Savings project is an important element in our work to use water wisely, secure our water supplies, and support healthy rivers.”

New South Wales Water Minister Nathan Rees said that the New South Wales government had completed preliminary investigations into water savings under Part A of the project in 2007.

“Six strategies were identified that could yield as much as 180 billion litres of water that is currently being lost to evaporation,” Mr Rees said.

Under Part B of the project, all six strategies will be further refined and investigated to identify the most efficient and effective way to reduce evaporation from the Menindee Lakes.

Mr Rees said any water recovered through the project would be returned to Basin rivers to improve river and wetland health. All water savings will be held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

“New South Wales continues to lead the way in implementing innovative strategies to address the challenges of drought and climate change. This project has the potential to be a model for improving water storage and management efficiencies around the world.”

The New South Wales Department of Water and Energy is managing the tender process. Tender documents can be obtained from https://tenders.nsw.gov.au. Tenders close on 9 September 2008 at 9:30am.