The State Government is working with the Barossa and Eden Valley communities to develop an integrated water security strategy to support current demand and future growth in the region.
The new Barossa water security strategy forms part of the State Government’s approach to targeted water security planning, by helping regions adapt to a changing climate and increasing demands for water.
Team Leader Water Security, Dr Ashley Kingsborough said that the Government understands that water availability is an enabler for economic growth and is aware that parts of the Barossa and Eden Valleys are currently experiencing water scarcity.
“Undertaking this planning process will help identify opportunities to grow the economies of this region while also increasing their resilience to future drought and climate change,” Dr Kingsborough said.
“This is about working with the region and the local industries to develop solutions that provide water security and build resilience in the context of a changing climate.
“The strategy development process builds on traditional water allocation planning processes and allows new supplies, expansion of existing supplies and changing demand profiles to be considered in the context of a changing climate.
“The strategy development will complement existing projects and bring together the different understandings of water use and availability in the Barossa and Eden Valleys to form a robust long-term plan to meet the needs of both regions in the future.
“There are numerous water-focused projects already underway in the Barossa, including the New Water Infrastructure to Barossa project, which is investigating the viability of delivering a new water supply to Barossa Valley and Eden Valley to address industry demand and underpin productivity growth and economic benefits to the State.
“The Barossa Water Allocation Plan is undergoing amendments and this process will consider how best to manage the surface and groundwater resources in the area, which are likely to be significantly impacted by climate change.”
Dr Kingsborough said a commitment to develop targeted regional strategies is a key element of the Government’s state-wide Water Security Statement, a draft of which was released for comment earlier this year.
“Access to secure sources of water is important to make sure we have the water we need to support economic growth, vibrant and healthy communities and healthy ecosystems into the future,” Dr Kingsborough said.
“Water availability from traditional sources is projected to decline across the state under a changing climate and there is also increasing demand for water to support growth in agriculture, mining and energy, as well as for growing towns and cities.
“The key challenge is to build on past investment to ensure all South Australians have adequate water security and to grow the South Australian economy in a sustainable way.
Two workshops have already been held, with another to be scheduled for late-2021, to develop a shared vision for the Barossa and Eden Valleys and discuss a range of future scenarios and options to achieve the shared vision and a water secure future. A strategy will then be finalised incorporating the most robust options.
The draft Barossa Water Security strategy will be made available for comment in the coming months, before being finalised in early to mid-2022.
The project is being led by DEW in partnership with PIRSA, SA Water, the Environment Protection Authority, Northern & Yorke Landscape Board, Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA), Barossa Infrastructure Limited (BIL), The Barossa Council, Light Regional Council, RDA Barossa, Gawler, Light and Adelaide Plains.
For more information visit: https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/water/water-security/barossa-water-security-strategy