Optimal Water Resource Mix for Metropolitan Adelaide

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Project Partners:

CSIRO, The University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, and Flinders University

Research Theme:

N/A

Status:

Project Overview

In November 2012, the Goyder Institute for Water Research funded a research programme as a contribution to the building of a strong information base to inform debate on how best to underpin an efficient and sustainable water supply for metropolitan Adelaide, now and into the future, due to the likely impacts of a drying climate and population growth. Metropolitan Adelaide has multiple sources of water – surface water, groundwater, desalinated water, stormwater, roof or rain water, recycled water and the River Murray – that can be utilised and managed for supplying the city’s water needs. Using those sources in combination requires consideration of an appropriate balance across objectives such as supply security, economic cost, social preferences and environmental impacts. The research programme, project U2.2 within the Goyder Institute for Water Research’s urban water portfolio, was designed to explore these considerations through:

  • engaging with stakeholders to provide an effective communication pathway and an agreed basis for evaluating alternative water supply mixes
  • providing a model that simulates the supply, demand and stormwater and wastewater discharge dynamics of Metropolitan Adelaide water supply system
  • developing a multi-objective optimisation methodology to assess trade-offs
  • monitoring household water use to better predict demand
  • performing legal and governance analysis in delivering water solutions
  • conducting economic analysis of the direct and indirect costs of supplying water from the multiple sources
  • improving understanding of social values and preferences regarding water solutions.

The project team was drawn from researchers at the Universities of Adelaide and South Australia, Flinders University, CSIRO and SA Water, with contributions from EPA, the SA Departments of Environment, Water and Natural Resources; and Planning, and the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management (AMLRNRMB). The project concluded in early 2014.

Progress Update and Key Findings

The water sources that are available to manage water supply in the Adelaide’s metropolitan region include surface water, groundwater, desalinated water, stormwater, roof or rain water, recycled water and River Murray water. Determining an ‘optimal mix’ of water supply options requires considering the trade-offs between multiple objectives such as supply security, economic costs (financial and externalities), social preferences, and environmental impacts.

The tradeoffs analysis methodology that was developed provides a framework that could be applied to other cities/regions to inform the development of total water cycle management plans. The project is innovative because it is the first time that these methodologies to identify options and evaluate trade-offs have been applied at a city-wide scale. This project identified a range of water supply options and evaluated trade-offs at a city scale that best deliver these multiple objectives. The knowledge gained from this complex research project informed policy development and progression of a total water cycle management plan for Adelaide.

Project Impacts

This project informed the development of an integrated water management plan for Adelaide in the following ways:

  • Two-way engagement with decision makers to ensure that the research is targeted towards key knowledge gaps and there is uptake of the project outcomes to support policy development.
  • The relationship between water sources, water distribution systems and water discharges at a whole of city scale were described and modelled.
  • Detailed water use patterns of households were measured and applied to understand water demands at a city scale.
  • An improved understanding of the social preferences and values regarding water supply options was described.
  • The economic costs and benefits from different supply options was estimated: including capital, operating, energy usage and externalities.
  • The health and recreational benefits of green space in urban areas was investigated.
  • An assessment of the institutional arrangements nationally and internationally that support management of diversified water supplies was documented.
  • A set of methods for determining the tradeoffs between the multiple objectives of alternative water supply options (water security, economic efficiency, environmental benefits, social values and institutional capacity) was developed.

Research Outputs

Managed Aquifer Recharge and Stormwater Use Options: Satellite Sites Stormwater Quality Monitoring and Treatment Requirements for Potable Supplies

A Risk-based Management Plan for Mount Gambier Stormwater Recharge System: Stormwater recharge to the Gambier Limestone aquifer

Managed Aquifer Recharge and Stormwater Use Options: Investigation of stormwater impact on water quality and distribution infrastructure

The importance of irrigated urban green space: health and recreational benefits perspectives

Stormwater managed aquifer recharge risk-based management plan. Parafield Stormwater Harvesting System

Managed Aquifer Recharge and Urban Stormwater Use Options: Public Health and Environmental Risk Assessment Final Report

Hydrological modelling of the Parafield and Cobbler Creek catchment for hazard analysis planning

Financial costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for major supply water sources and demand management options for metropolitan Adelaide

Public Attitudes towards Managed Aquifer Recharge and Urban Stormwater Use in Adelaide

A Decision Support Framework for identifying optimal water supply portfolios: Metropolitan Adelaide Case Study Volume 2: Appendices.

A Decision Support Framework for identifying optimal water supply portfolios: Metropolitan Adelaide Case Study Volume 1: Main Report

Institutional Arrangements for Implementing Diverse Water Supply Portfolio in metropolitan Adelaide – Scoping Study

Managed Aquifer Recharge and Urban Stormwater Use Options: Summary of Research Findings

A study into the supply, demand, economic, social and institutional aspects of optimising water supply to metropolitan Adelaide – preliminary research findings: Summary report from Project U2.2

Understanding and Predicting Household Water Use for Adelaide

Parafield Stormwater Harvesting Runoff and Hazard Analysis Simulation Model

Water Community Resource Evaluation and Simulation System (WaterCress)

PHREEQC Model for Water Quality Impacts on Infrastructure

Integrated Urban Water Management Model

Project News