Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Desalination plant in South Australia

The Age (Australia): A federal Labor government would partner South Australia in building a desalination plant but leader Kevin Rudd has refused to commit to helping other states pay for plants. Mr Rudd said it was too early to talk about how much a federal Labor government would contribute to the project, which Premier Mike Rann has forecast will cost about $1.4 billion.

Mr Rudd, who was in Adelaide on Wednesday to pledge Labor's support for a water recycling project in the city's northern suburbs, said he had a two hour meeting with Mr Rann on Tuesday night about water resources. He would not comment on criticisms the state government had failed to act on securing Adelaide's water supply, but said a desalination plant was a long term option.

"Whoever is the government of South Australia in the future this is the sort of project that we want to be a financial partner in to make sure it happens," Mr Rudd told reporters. "I would say that this approach is necessary when you are looking at the long term challenge of climate change and water."

…."In each state it will be different but we believe a national response is necessary," Mr Rudd told reporters. "Climate change is a national challenge, it is a national crisis. It is bringing about a real problem for Australian water and we need a national response and after 11 years in office Mr Howard's government has been asleep at the wheel."

…Greens MP Mark Parnell said it would be cheaper and better for the environment to use the desalination technology to treat effluent rather than sea water. "The beauty is it uses much less energy to turn waste water into drinking water than it does to turn sea water into fresh and we stop environmental damage at the same time," Mr Parnell said….

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