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Western Australia

In response to a recent call for submissions by the Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia (*) a proposal is currently being prepared in regard to the towage of water from the Fitzroy River to the Perth metropolitan area as an environmentally preferable and lower-cost option to a second desalination plant. (*) with ref. to Notice 03-Dec-07 on website www.era.wa.gov.au

A preliminary analysis has indicated that this may be possible without any negative effects on the river’s flow regime or ecology, by drawing on the Dutch experience in environmentally beneficial management of the river Rhine. (it has led to full ecological restoration of the river, including the 'come back' of previously endangered fish species)

Following recent discussions with senior staff of the Kimberley Lands Council, a feasibility study is currently in progress. Its primary purpose is to demonstrate that the envisaged scheme would be economically viable and that the environmental consequences -if any- would be insignificant due to the fact that the total volume of water to be drawn from the river would be limited to only a few percent of its average annual runoff.

If the envisaged scheme could be brought to fruition it would be especially beneficial to the Kimberley's indigenous residents in regard to the long-term creation of employment and income whilst providing extensive training and educational opportunities.

The sourced water would be piped to a loading buoy offshore Broome and towed from there to a discharging buoy offshore Fremantle in containers with a capacity in the order of 350,000 Tonnes.

It is estimated that the study will take about six months to complete after which a comprehensive report will be submitted to the ERA, copied to Western Australia's Water Corporation.

A separate study will shortly commence in regard to diverting some of the sourced river water to industries and coastal towns in the Pilbara.