SA Water is seeking project proposals from agribusinesses across Australia and internationally for the use of recycled water for advanced horticulture and high-tech food production north of Adelaide.

12 gigalitres (GL) a year of high-quality recycled water from SA Water’s largest metropolitan wastewater treatment plant will be made available through the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS).

The $155.6 million scheme is being jointly funded by the South Australian and Australian Governments, and developed in partnership by SA Water and Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

Government funding of the scheme will go towards upgrades to the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant, advanced water treatment technology, a pressurised transmission pipeline and distribution network.

SA Water’s General Manager of Strategy, Performance and Innovation, Jim McGuire, said the NAIS brings a once in a generation opportunity to secure a reliable and long-term supply of climate and season-independent water.

“The aim is to use this water to develop a new agri-food precinct across 3000 hectares of the Northern Adelaide Plains, which will supply booming export markets in Asia and across the world,” Mr McGuire said.

“South Australia, and the Northern Adelaide Plains in particular, offers a clean Mediterranean climate with a range of soil types.

“Water through the scheme is suitable for horticulture, floriculture, fruit and nut orchards, table and wine grapes, high-value broadacre cropping, poultry and other intensive animal husbandry, and aquaculture.

“Key advantages for project proponents include ready access to a trained horticulture workforce with advanced skills, as well as international road, rail, sea, and air logistics, infrastructure and services.

“The project is a great opportunity to drive investment, employment growth, and export earnings. Project proposals will be evaluated for their contribution to Gross Domestic Product, including investment value, export revenues and job creation.”

Project proposals close 15 November 2017.

Construction of the scheme is expected to begin in early 2018, with the first water delivered in 2019.

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