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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

21 September 2001

A CLEANER FUTURE FOR THE DOLPHINS OF BARKER INLET


Commonwealth Government funding will support a multi-million dollar suite of projects designed to save water and dramatically reduce pollution entering Adelaide's Barker Inlet.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said the comprehensive scheme would see billions of litres of wastewater and stormwater diverted into new treatment schemes for industrial reuse rather than spilling into the Port River Estuary and the Barker Inlet.

The construction phase of a major project in the scheme was launched by Senator Hill in Adelaide today, the largest stormwater-recycling project in Adelaide - the Parafields Partnerships Urban Stormwater initiative. This $3.7m project will receive $1.3m from the Commonwealth's Living Cities program.

Senator Hill also announced three other projects worth $753 595 targeting the clean up of Adelaide waterways and Barker Inlet.

"Barker Inlet is part of Gulf St Vincent and is listed under Australia's Directory of Important Wetlands. It is an essential breeding ground and nursery for many important fish and shellfish species," Senator Hill said.

Adelaide also boasts the unique presence of dolphins inhabiting Barker Inlet.

"There aren't too many cities in the world where dolphins live on the city's doorstep," Senator Hill said.

"However, with more than one million people living around the Gulf, the effects of urbanisation are becoming increasingly apparent. The loss of seagrass, increased sand movement, algal blooms, reduction in water quality, litter on beaches and loss of mangroves are all problems that need to be addressed.

"We believe that with projects like the ones I am announcing today, that we can support sustainable industry and employment while protecting national assets such as the unique habitats in the Barker Inlet and the Gulf.

Senator Hill said about 180,000ML of stormwater run off reaches the Gulf each year, equivalent to Adelaide's annual use of reticulated water. This stormwater transports more than 600 tonnes of silt from the catchment into the Gulf each year.

"The projects launched today are a national demonstration of innovative techniques to manage stormwater and wastewater with increased industry productivity and a reduction of pollutants entering the Barker Inlet," Senator Hill said.

Parafield Urban Stormwater Harvesting Project
Billions of litres of water from the River Murray will be saved while stormwater flowing to Barker Inlet will radically improve thanks to the construction of a reedbed treatment and storage complex at the Parafield Airport.

"The City of Salisbury which is driving the project will divert untreated stormwater currently flowing from the north and east of the airport from polluting Barker Inlet and Gulf St Vincent. The stormwater will be piped into bird-proof ponds for cleansing by aquatic plants. Here it will be transformed into water of near drinking standard," Senator Hill said.

"Recycled stormwater, containing less salt than the River Murray, will be supplied directly to local companies, and surplus treated stormwater will be injected into underground aquifers for extraction during dry spells."

Project partners include the City of Salisbury, Parafield Airport Pty Ltd, the Northern Adelaide and Barossa Catchment Water Management Board and the SA Department for Water Resources.

"GH Mitchell & Sons has for over a century relied on Adelaide mains water for industrial needs. This project will provide the company with an alternative water source, relieving pressure on the Murray without impacting on business activities," said Senator Hill.

Little Para River Industry Partnerships Program
"The Commonwealth will provide $629 000 funding to the City of Salisbury for a $3,148,000 stormwater reuse project centred at Holden's Elizabeth assembly plant. The project aims to reduce stormwater pollution flowing untreated into the Little Para River and Barker Inlet and Gulf St Vincent," Senator Hill said.

"The project will capture and treat stormwater from the car plant and its local catchment in the City of Salisbury's Karuna Park Wetlands, for reuse in the Holden plant and other factories. Surplus treated stormwater will be diverted to underground aquifers to meet water demand in drier periods."

Virginia Horticulture Water Reuse Project
Commonwealth funding of $80 000 towards a $830k project with the Virginia Horticulture Centre Inc will improve the horticultural industry's management of stormwater and wastewater.

"This national demonstration project will use less drinking and bore water by channelling rainwater from greenhouse roofs for irrigation of plants. Hydroponic wastewater will be treated and recycled to prevent its seepage into stormwater and Barker Inlet," he said.

Just Parks and Gardens Nursery Project
Commonwealth funding of $44 595 will go towards a $227,000 project with Adelaide firm "Just Parks and Gardens" to demonstrate ways nurseries can reduce water demand by recycling stormwater and wastewater using innovative treatment techniques.

21 September 2001

Media contact
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill): (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 36

Commonwealth of Australia