SA water industry to help deliver stormwater program for China

Date posted: 02 October 2017

South Australia’s water industry will help deliver a AU$400 million stormwater harvesting program with the Chinese city of Jinan.

Government delegates from Jinan, in Shandong Province, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with six South Australian businesses - known as the Australia China Sponge City Consortium – to deliver the stormwater harvesting pilot project and leverage a portion of AU$400 million being invested over four years.

The engagement of the Australia China Sponge City Consortium with the Jinan government is a first for the Australian water industry under the China’s Sponge City program.


China's Sponge City program was launched in 2015 to help address the country's water resources, flooding and water scarcity challenges with billions of dollar pledged towards 30 cities across China.

The Australia China Sponge City Consortium includes Syntec Global, Alano Water, Water Data Services, Aqueon, Hassell and Australian Water Environments. The Consortium won the 2017 South Australian Smart Water Allwater Alliancing Award.

On 8 September Jinan and the Australia China Sponge City Consortium signed the MoU for the pilot project at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens during a visit from the Governor of Shandong province, His Excellency Mr Gong Zheng.

During the Governor’s visit the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the Australia China Sponge City Consortium presented to the Governor on South Australia’s various water and environment expertise and the Governor expressed considerable interest in strengthening industry and government cooperation in these areas. 

Quotes attributable to Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith

South Australia is in the right place at the right time to help our major trading partner develop the expertise it needs to address its various water challenges and forming a cooperative partnership between Shandong and South Australia.

South Australia is also working on proposals for other water and environment projects in China including for water and soil remediation at the Qingdao High Technology Zone, the use of innovative water treatment systems at the new Fullerton Hotel in Hong Kong and discussions with TusHolding who are a major investor in science parks and incubators in China.

Quotes attributable to Water Minister Ian Hunter

A pilot project such as this paves the way for the whole of the South Australian water industry to work in China as it demonstrates the applicability of local capability on the ground.

South Australia has developed highly sought-after skills and expertise in stormwater and rainwater harvesting and management, wastewater treatment and re-use, irrigation, water quality monitoring and management, and water security policy, which is critical to the successful development and implementation of strong water management frameworks in China.

Quotes attributable to Australia China Sponge City Consortium spokesperson Geoff Fisher (0400 595 010)

The greater city of Jinan has a population of seven million people - it has huge water supply and water pollution issues facing it. The majestic Springs of Jinan are under threat and their water quality is deteriorating. Many thousands of people are at risk of flooding in the city.

Our project design includes a strong collaborative approach with our Chinese partners. It has a strong emphasis on capacity building and information transfer. This will lever our technology, expertise and services into the rest of Jinan and other cities in China. The potential economic, social and environmental benefits are wide reaching.