SunWater to manage water supply network in Western Australia

17 Jun 2010

Queensland scored a major win in Western Australia this week with the announcement that SunWater had been appointed as the preferred water service provider for the $220m Ord Irrigation Expansion Project (OIEP).

SunWater CEO Peter Boettcher said the appointment reinforced SunWater had the expertise to compete in the national market and was fast becoming the organisation that industry turned to for strategic infrastructure management solutions.

“This is a big win for SunWater and clear recognition of our extensive expertise in providing effective and efficient water infrastructure management,” Mr Boettcher said.

“SunWater already manages more than $7 billion of its own water infrastructure assets across the State as well as a further $2 billion of water infrastructure assets owned by other organisations in Queensland and other states.

“SunWater has been regional Queensland’s primary water infrastructure manager for the agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors for more than 80 years and this new appointment will allow us to further expand our role in water infrastructure management in other parts of Australia.   
 
“The fact that there were 27 national organisations vying for the project really highlights SunWater’s positive standing within Australia’s water infrastructure management industry,” he said.

Mr Boettcher said the $220m OIEP was one part of the Western Australian Government’s $415m investment into the Ord-East Kimberly Expansion Project.

“The overall project vision is to increase the size of the existing Ord irrigation area to 22,000ha of agricultural land to provide major opportunities for growth and sustainability for the region’s economic and social development.

“SunWater’s role with the OIEP will be to manage the extensive irrigation water supply network needed to service more than 8000ha of new farmland on the Weaber Plains in the East Kimberly,” he said.

In his announcement this week, Western Australian Water Minister Graham Jacobs acknowledged SunWater was one of Australia’s leading infrastructure managers for major irrigation schemes but also noted the organisation had clearly demonstrated its commitment to and experience in enhancing indigenous engagement and local employment.

“The involvement of Aboriginal people as joint venture partners will provide employment and training for indigenous people,” Dr Jacobs said.

Mr Boettcher said SunWater shared the Western Australian Government’s indigenous engagement philosophy which ensured traditional owners, in this case the Miriuwung and Gajerrong people, could benefit from the project through the delivery of better health, education, training, employment and direct ownership opportunities.

“SunWater recognises that all participants in the Ord Irrigation Expansion Project need to be actively engaged and we are committed to finding sustainable long-term opportunities for indigenous people associated with the project.

SunWater will play a pivotal role in this regard and are in an excellent position to meet these objectives thanks to our extensive relationships with indigenous communities in Far North Queensland who are currently maintaining key water infrastructure facilities,” he said.

The Western Australian Government will now enter into negotiations with SunWater to finalise the scheme design, water pricing arrangements, maintenance contracts and environmental management responsibilities which is expected to take about six months.

More information on the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project is available at http://www.royaltiesforregions.wa.gov.au/Content/MajorProjects/Ord/Default.aspx

Media Enquiries

Glenn Pfluger
Media Advisor
Phone +61 7 3120 0047
Mobile 0407 574 663
Email glenn.pfluger@sunwater.com.au

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