Western Australia’s GWR scheme moves nearer

Western Australia’s state government is to spend Aus$ 2.5 million (US$ 2.54 million) in 2012‑13 on preliminary design and investigation works to ensure that the Water Corporation is in a position to implement a groundwater replenishment scheme for Perth, should the trial be successful.

Water Minister Bill Marmion said it was important the corporation was in a position to advance a long-term operating scheme following the Groundwater Replenishment Trial, which was completed at Beenyup in December 2012.

The first stage of a full scheme, using wastewater treated to drinking water standards, involves expanding the trial plant to produce 7 million m³/year of water. Marmion said this could be fully operational by December 2015.

Water Corporation has allocated Aus$ 108.1 million (US$ 110 million) over the forward estimates period to fund this expansion. However, a decision to move to a full-scale scheme is still entirely dependent on the outcome of the trial.

The minister said the results of a recent survey were encouraging, with community acceptance for groundwater replenishment remaining steady at 74%.

The state government will spend Aus$ 3.6 billion (US$ 3.66 billion) in 2012‑13, and over the forward estimates period, to upgrade and build essential new infrastructure to secure Western Australia’s water supply for the long term.