From: Associated Press
Published October 20, 2004 12:00 AM

Sydney Launches Multimillion Dollar Plan to Safeguard City's Water Supply

SYDNEY, Australia — Authorities will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into projects to maintain Sydney's water supply over the next 10 years, the New South Wales state premier said this week.


Those projects include a plan to pump water about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from a reservoir south of Sydney to supplement the city's existing network of reservoirs, said Premier Bob Carr.


Much of eastern Australia is in the grip of a two-year drought, and with the hot Southern Hemisphere summer months about to start, most reservoirs around Sydney are only about 42 percent full.


Water authorities have already imposed tough restrictions on the water use of the 4 million residents in Australia's largest city, including bans on watering their gardens four days a week and on using hoses to clean their cars and driveways.


Those restrictions have led to a large decrease in the amount of water the city uses. Nevertheless, reservoir levels continue to drop.


Another component of the 780 million Australian dollar (US$570 million; euro 460 million) water supply plan will be the installation of new pumps in reservoirs to extract water that is too deep for current machinery, Carr said.


"It's a big commitment of infrastructure ... designed to secure our supplies of water," he told reporters at the Warragamba Dam in the mountains west of Sydney.


As Carr made his announcement, a heavy rainfall deluged the city.


The state government also plans to build a water recycling plant for new homes being built on Sydney's western fringes, Carr said. He also said his government would investigate the use of desalination plants that make sea water potable.


Source: Associated Press


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