Local Government (Stormwater Management Agreement) Amendment Bill

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 28 October 2015.)

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 11:14:52): I rise on behalf of the Greens today to support the Local Government (Stormwater Management Agreement) Amendment Bill 2015. It is a simple and straightforward bill that we welcome into this place.

The bill seeks to approve the 2013 Stormwater Management Agreement which addresses responsibilities for stormwater management and is the basis for joint and collaborative action by both state and local government to deal with threats of flooding and to better manage the use of stormwater as a resource. The Greens also support the work of the Stormwater Management Authority, which is a statutory corporation. Its role is to support the development of an urban water plan for Greater Adelaide and leave the implementation of the stormwater elements of the plan.

The Greens support more efficient, better harvesting and storage of stormwater that falls on the Adelaide Plains and surrounding areas each year. We know that the state government's Water for Good policy highlights the importance of stormwater recycling in diversifying the state's water supplies. It includes targets such as by 2025 our state will seek to harvest 35 gigalitres of water per annum, and by 2050 our state has a target to achieve the capacity to provide up to 60 gigalitres of recycled stormwater per annum in Greater Adelaide.

The Greens support the implementation of a metropolitan-wide stormwater harvesting and filtration program in partnership with local governments and SA Water. We know that our local councils are leading innovators in this regard not just in our nation, but in the world. The City of Salisbury is doing excellent work in this space; it has constructed 50 wetlands which provide natural filtering and cleansing of stormwater enabling a low cost treatment option for re-use.

The City of Salisbury's wetlands are an attempt to replicate the original natural process of slowing and filtering water. According to this council, Adelaide's total water consumption is less than the amount that falls in precipitation, and this is despite low rainfall seasons. Indeed, the volume of stormwater that flows annually into the Gulf St Vincent is equivalent to our total consumption. To put this in perspective, stormwater flowing through Salisbury is equivalent to 26 per cent and Adelaide's take from the River Murray in an average year. That is why we need to continue investing in capturing and storing stormwater.

The Greens encourage stormwater harvesting projects in other metropolitan councils where possible, and harvested stormwater has the potential to generate income if the treated water is sold to local industries. Harvested stormwater can also be used to recharge underground aquifers through a process known as aquifer storage and recovery.

The River Murray, our traditional water source for Adelaide, is in a critical state. Unsustainable extraction means that not enough water is flowing into the Lower Lakes and Coorong in dry periods, and all forecasted climate change scenarios show this situation will only get worse. The provision of clean, adequate and affordable water is essential for a healthy society, and we do need a plan to secure our water resources in this state. With these few words, the Greens support this bill and commend it to the council.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.J. Stephens.

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