Australian reuse project wins US$ 10 million grant

The council for the Light region of South Australia has won a A$ 10.7 million (US$ 10 million) federal grant to complete funding for a "foundation" programme, the Gawler Water Reuse Project.

The grant was provided from the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan which supports investments in desalination, recycling and stormwater harvesting to improve water supply security. Light Regional Council (LRC) will borrow at least half the Gawler project funding from the Local Government Finance Authority - about US$ 11 million. It will combine that with the grant and lend it on to local wine maker, Seppeltsfield Wines, which will be the developer of the project as well as a customer.

Chief executive officer of LRC Brian Carr, said: "This is a defining moment for the region as this scheme lays the foundation for an extensive water re-use programme.

"These are the types of projects collective government, in partnership with the private sector, need to initiate and nurture to rejuvenate our state's economy," he said.

Seppeltsfield will take annually up to 2,000 Ml of purified water from the Gawler Water Reuse Project paying US$1.7 million for a six years under a sub-licence agreement. initially the company will take 1,200 Ml a year.

Seppeltsfield may continue - with indexed payment figures - or pay out the loan and take ownership of the scheme, or hand the scheme back to the regional council and continue to buy water for 15 years.

The company will be involved with the design of the project and will use the loan from LRC to construct and maintain its infrastructure.

The grant money comes from the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

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