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McLaren Vale Regional Water Security Strategy

The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) is investing in long-term water security planning to support regions as they adapt to a changing climate and increasing demands for water.

DEW is undertaking work in McLaren Vale to plan for the future water needed to support the local economy, communities, amenity, cultural values and healthy ecosystems now and into the future.

McLaren Vale is a premium wine-producing region with over 7,300 hectares planted to vines. Irrigation water is sourced from local groundwater and recycled water from the Christies Beach and Aldinga Wastewater Treatment plants. Approximately 6,000 –7,000 megalitres (ML) of recycled wastewater is supplied each year, with approximately 5,000 ML of groundwater providing the remaining water required. Access to recycled water has taken pressure off the local groundwater resources and has enabled irrigated areas to expand.

What we are doing

DEW is working in partnership with the McLaren Vale Grape, Wine & Tourism Association, City of Onkaparinga, Willunga Basin Water Company, the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, SA Water, Primary Industries and Regions SA and the McLaren Vale regional community to develop a long-term water security strategy.

The strategy will consider new water supplies, expansion of existing supplies and changing demand profiles in the context of a changing climate. The strategy seeks to ensure that infrastructure projects and water management policies complement each other to support the region.

The approach to the development of the strategy considers significant global, regional and local events that could affect water security to make sure that future options investigated are resilient to a changing future.

An economic options assessment will help inform the strategy by considering future demand for water and the supply options that could meet this demand. The final strategy will set out strategic actions to achieve water security and investment pathways to assist with decision-making into the future.

Alongside the development of a water security strategy, a number of other water-related projects are underway. An Information Sheet provides more detail about other projects and how they relate to the strategy.

Developing the strategy

To help develop the water security strategy, three workshops are planned during 2023-24. Through these workshops a shared water security vision for the McLaren Vale Region will be developed, and pathways to achieve that vision under a range of future scenarios will be considered.

An analysis of options, under both current and future climate scenarios, will support the strategy development and the prioritisation of actions. The final water security strategy will incorporate actions that enable the region to achieve its vision under a wide range of uncertain future conditions.

Workshop 1, which focused on developing a shared water security vision for the McLaren Vale Region, was held on 1 February 2023. The workshop started to identify actions that would contribute to achieving the shared vision. An update from workshop 1 is available here.

Workshop 2 was held on 27 June 2023. At this workshop, detailed scenarios for the future were developed and water security options were further refined. An update from Workshop 2 is available here.

Analysis of the outcomes of the first two workshops and the economic options assessment is underway. This analysis will be informed by other projects currently underway, including:

To allow for the outcomes of these projects to be included in the water security strategy, Workshop 3 will be scheduled for June 2024.

At Workshop 3 the outcomes of the analysis will be presented and feedback will be invited on the strategic actions, supply options and investment pathways to include in the final strategy.

McLaren Vale Regional Water Security Strategy

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