Preliminary site works have started for infrastructure upgrades to SA Water’s Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant, as part of the $155.6 million Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme.

The upgrades will enable 12 gigalitres (GL) per year of high quality, climate-independent recycled water for a new intensive food production zone north of Adelaide.

Crews have begun geotechnical investigations and surveys to inform detailed design and planning for the major construction activity which is scheduled to begin from April 2018.

The $155.6 million Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme (NAIS) will see new water treatment facilities built within the Bolivar precinct to increase its production of recycled irrigation water to 60 per cent.

Treated water storage facilities, pump stations, pressurised transfer pipelines and a distribution network to deliver water north of the Gawler River, will also be built.

This foundational site activity ensures the project is on schedule to deliver its first water to customers in 2019.

Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter, said the important infrastructure project will activate investment and employment opportunities across the Northern Adelaide Plains.

“NAIS is transformative, with major infrastructure set to deliver more climate-independent water and growing the region into the national leader in intensive, modern food production,” Mr Hunter said.

The Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant is SA Water’s largest wastewater facility, and treats around 60 per cent of Metropolitan Adelaide’s sewage, which is an average of 157 million litres a day, or 1800 litres per second.

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

The scheme will create an estimated 3700 jobs and add more than $500 million a year to the state’s economy.

A commercial process seeking project proposals from agribusinesses across Australia and internationally, is operating concurrently, with the first round of applications closing on 15 November 2017.

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

The package of benefits the NAIS offers includes access to a climate-independent source of water, long-term 45 year contracts, annual price increases capped at CPI, fully tradeable contracts, in-scheme storage, and a fully pressurised system on demand at the farm gate.

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