South East Water Security Plan

South East Water Security Plan

SA Water is committed to providing safe, clean water supplies to our customers. Our water security plans are one way of helping us to offer this reliable service. The plans also provide strategic direction for SA Water's capital, maintenance and operational projects and are adaptable to meet the needs of current and future generations. These projects form part of SA Water's Regulatory Business Proposal (RBP). We submit the RBP to our regulator, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) every four years. The projects, along with all work SA Water undertakes supports the growth of our state.

SA Water's water security plans use the best analytical and scientific methods for South Australian weather and climatic conditions. These are matched against long-term forecasts of resources availability and customer demand.

Our research complements work by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and the Goyder Institute.

SA Water's water security plans will be developed to cover each region in South Australia. Our plan for the South East and Murray Mallee focuses on 19 towns within the two regions. These towns are supplied water from individual groundwater sources e.g. bores or the Blue Lake. Towns which receive water from the River Murray will be the subject of a separate water security plan. This will be delivered at a later date.

Water security planning analyses water availability and historic customer demand. This helps to quantify and project future water supply requirements. SA Water considers a wide variety of potential influences to water demand patterns. We use these to build models to forecast demand in each water supply system. The models consider residential and non-residential (commercial and industrial) water use. This is to reflect potential differences in demand patterns. The models match the demand to the potential influence of the following:

  • climate, including the latest climate change data (rainfall, temperature and evaporation)
  • population projections
  • state Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • water prices, water restrictions and network losses.

If existing resources are deemed insufficient to meet future needs (on either a volume or quality basis), options for augmentation are considered. These options look at both demand and supply measures, including:

  • potential customer water efficiencies
  • substitution with stormwater or recycled water for non-drinking purposes
  • alternate water supply
  • increasing extractions from existing supply

Consideration is also given to:

  • cost
  • sustainability of the resources
  • the social, environmental and economic impact of each option.

The recommended augmentation options are then incorporated into SA Water's capital investment planning. This is for inclusion within existing budgets or added to SA Water's Regulatory Business Proposal (RBP) for the next regulatory period.

This plan has reviewed the water security of all SA Water's independent town supplies in the state's South East and Murray Mallee regions. Demand models have been developed for each of these supplies. Available water resources have also been analysed for:

  • allocation
  • maintaining water quality
  • ensuring SA Water's infrastructure is suitable to extract the required volumes.

Our water security plans will be subject to reviews. These reviews will update extraction volumes and assess any changes we need to take into account. If water demand projections or population trends change, updates can be made. Reviews may also identify a need for new or upgraded infrastructure. These can be assessed in SA Water's capital funding process.

Water Allocations

SA Water holds groundwater allocations across the South East and Murray Mallee. Based on current local groundwater trends, the allocations are projected to provide sufficient water supplies for these two regions for the foreseeable future.

Water Quality

SA Water strives to deliver the best quality water to our customers. To achieve this, we follow a stringent regime of water quality testing and investigations. Work is underway to connect new bores in Kingston SE and Robe to further improve local water quality. 

SA Water is also working with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) to investigate Bordertown's groundwater supply options. This will help inform management of the aquifer to ensure its long term sustainability.

Infrastructure Upgrades

There is generally adequate pumping infrastructure to support our supplies.The plan does recommend some infrastructure upgrades. The Blue Lake is and will remain Mount Gambier's primary water supply source. We want to maintain a sustainable level of extraction from the lake. To do this, we are looking to diversify the water sources that supply the regional city. This includes investigations into a new bore field to help supply the city.

SA Water has also been undertaking work to improve Naracoorte's water supply. This includes alterations to the distribution system and investigations into alternative water sources.

Supply & Demand Graphs

Click here to view graphs that show the projected demand for water supplies in the state's South East and Murray Mallee towns.


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