Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS)

Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS)

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The Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS), a PIRSA led Northern Adelaide Plains Agribusiness Initiative, would secure large volumes of affordable, high security, recycled water for intensive, high-tech food production.

The South Australian Government has applied to the Australian Government’s National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) for $45.6 million in funding to construct the infrastructure for the NAIS.

A decision on the NWIDF funding is expected to be announced in mid-2017. If NWIDF funding is approved, the State Government, through SA Water, will co-invest $110 million in the NAIS project. 

Subject to receiving the funding, construction of the NAIS will begin in late 2017, with the intention of recycled water flowing to irrigators from December 2018.

  • upgrade infrastructure at the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant to produce an additional 12 GL per year of recycled water suitable for irrigation
  • build core recycled water distribution infrastructure to the area north of the Gawler River
  • enable a major new irrigation area to be constructed, including high-tech, high-value intensive food production.

The infrastructure would be designed and constructed to meet future capacity for when demand exceeds the initial supply and export markets grow.

Additional investment, in time, would enable the development of infrastructure to deliver a total of 20 gigalitres of recycled water a year from the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant, expanding the region’s horticulture industry and piping irrigation water to the Barossa Valley.

In late 2016, SA Water released an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the market seeking innovative proposals to utilise recycled water through NAIS that can create the greatest economic benefit for the state. Evaluation of the proposals is ongoing.

The Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant already provides recycled water for food production. Recycled water is high security water, independent of climate variations.

For irrigation, storage is necessary and SA Water is considering two broad storage options:

  • above-ground storage in one or more holding ponds
  • below-ground storage in the local aquifer (T2 Aquifer). This is a process called Managed Aquifer Recovery (MAR).

A Community Committee was established to work with SA Water to develop a plan for recycled water storage in the Northern Adelaide Plains.

The draft SA Water Guidelines for Recycled Water Storage in the Northern Adelaide Plains were developed as a result of the discussions with the Committee and released to the wider public for additional feedback.

Community consultation has now closed and SA Water is now incorporating community feedback before publishing the final guidelines.

For the latest information about the NAIS visit PIRSA's website. You can also read additional information about recycled water in the Northern Adelaide Plains December 2016 Newsletter

Read more about engagement with stakeholders.

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