In2012, Light Regional Council (LRC) obtained a $10.7 million federal grant from the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for the Gawler Water Reuse Project and is about to undertake an agreement with Seppeltsfield Wines Pty Ltd.
The grant was provided from the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan which supports investments in desalination, recycling and stormwater harvesting to improve water supply security.
Seppeltsfield Wines was identified as both a potential customer for the water harvested through the project and also as an operator of the infrastructure constructed as part of the project.
The company will be involved with the design and construction of the project through a loan agreement and will borrow funds from LRC to construct and maintain the infrastructure.
The entrepreneurial proposal is for LRC to borrow at least 50 per cent of the project funds from the Local Government Finance Authority (LGFA); about $11 million; and combine this with the Commonwealth grant to on-lend it to Seppeltsfield Wines.
As part of the agreement Seppeltsfield will continue to take up to two gigalitres of water from the scheme, initially 1.2 gigalitres, paying $1.8 million for a period of six years under a sub-licence agreement, and may continue (with indexed payment figures), or pay out the loan and take ownership of the scheme, or hand the scheme back to LRC and continue to purchase water for a period of 15 years.
The recommendations for the project were carried at the last LRC meeting held on Tuesday, August 26.
Brian Carr, LRC chief executive officer said, “This is a defining moment for the region; as this scheme lays the foundation for an extensive water re-use program to stimulate and water proof a premium food and wine industry in the Barossa and north of the Gawler River. The leadership from the mayor and elected members in backing this scheme will deliver a lasting legacy for future generations.
“These are the types of projects collective government, in partnership with the private sector, need to initiate and nurture to rejuvenate our State’s economy,” he said.
The project infrastructure aims to be operational by October 2015 and fully constructed by May 31, 2016.
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