North-South Pipeline Promise Honoured

North-South Pipeline Promise Honoured

Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh

Coalition Shuts Down North-South Pipeline

Victor P Taffa

Water from the north-south pipeline will only be used to boost Melbourne’s supply during times of critical human need, Water Minister Peter Walsh said today.

Mr. Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government would only transfer water down the pipeline if Melbourne’s water storage levels were below 30 % on 30 November.

“Water from the north-south pipeline will only be considered as a last resort for use during extremely dry conditions or for fire-fighting purposes.” Mr. Walsh said.

“Melbourne’s water will be stored in Eildon as Melbourne’s insurance policy against Stage 4 water restrictions in the future.”

Mr. Walsh said Labor broke a core promise and made a short-sighted and ill-conceived decision to build the pipeline to Sugarloaf.

“Historical data shows in most years Sugarloaf Reservoir will not be able to store the extra 75 gigalitres (Gl) of water from the north-south pipeline.” Mr. Walsh said.

“Between 1981 and 2009 inflows into Sugarloaf from the Yarra River and Maroondah aqueduct averaged 86.9 Gl yet the dam has only been able to supply an average of 83.3 Gl.

“At the moment Sugarloaf Reservoir is more than 99 % full, which means the north-south pipeline cannot be used unless we allow water spilling from storages upstream of Sugarloaf to go to waste.”

“Sugarloaf is downstream of all other Yarra storages, which means water cannot be transferred to other dams.”

“Melbourne’s water storages are over 64 % and total water consumption in October was 20 megalitres a day less than the same time in 2010.” Mr. Walsh said.

Mr. Walsh said Melbourne’s water retailers would have a seasonal allocation against high reliability water shares in the Goulburn system, the same as other entitlement holders.

“Any water which is transferred down the pipeline must be part of Melbourne’s share of water from Stage 1 of the Food Bowl Modernisation Project.” Mr. Walsh said.

“In return for their contribution towards the project, Melbourne’s retail water businesses will continue to hold legal rights allowing them to trade the water in years when it is not needed.”

“The pipeline will also be maintained and charged with water so it can be used for fire-fighting.”

Mr. Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government committed before last year’s election to change the way we plan for Melbourne’s future water needs.

“Our Living Victoria policy aims to overhaul the urban water system to place a greater focus on localised water solutions, rather than relying on transferring water from other catchments or costly infrastructure projects.” Mr. Walsh said.