RDA Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island has been working with stakeholders and advocating for funding of the Kangaroo Island Water Security and Drought Proofing Project for some time and we are extremely pleased with the announcement this week that the project is now fully funded ($47.8m) and expected to be started immediately.
Kangaroo Island has been identified as a drought-affected region under the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program and over the past 3 years the Bureau of Meteorology has classified either the whole or majority of Kangaroo Island as suffering from a serious or severe rainfall deficiency.
SA Water’s Kangaroo Island Long-term Plan 2018 – 2043, which seeks to balance the challenges and opportunities across a range of factors both now and into the future, identified the Kangaroo Island Water Security & Drought Proofing Project as the optimal pathway to guaranteeing a safe, secure and reliable water supply for the majority of Kangaroo Island. The project includes a new desalination plant at Penneshaw and distribution network between Penneshaw and Kingscote with connections to around 1,000 properties.
RDA AHFKI undertook work to show the importance of the project to the island:
- Guaranteed access to safe and consistent water supply
- Increased fire-fighting capacity
- Over 500 jobs generated
- Unlocking and enabling over $72m of private-sector investment in Kangaroo Island, providing a powerful multiplier effect generating around $200m economic value-add impact to the island economy over 15 years
- Lower cost water, providing fairer and more equitable economic outcomes for the community
- Long-term sustainability and lower environmental impact as desalination technology is climate independent and able to be powered with renewable energy
- Alignment with our own strategy and the South Australian Government Resilience & Rebuilding Framework
After the regions bushfires at the beginning of the year, RDA AHFKI worked with impacted councils and other stakeholders to identify regional projects that could help rebuild our fire-impacted economies. RDA AHFKI worked up business cases and presented a folio of priority projects to state and federal government and actively advocated for their funding. The same process was repeated on a broader whole-of-region scale in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In both instances, the Kangaroo Island Water Security and Drought Proofing Project ranked very highly – the RDA team and all project stakeholders are extremely pleased with the outcome.
The desalination plant will take 18 to 24 months to complete with operations estimated to commence in 2022.