The Council's Energy and Water Efficiency Management Plan (currently under review) provides key objectives and targets with associated cost effective implementation measures for Council to meet its commitment to reduce the overall organisational-wide greenhouse gas emissions.
The Energy and Water Efficiency Management Plan focuses on improving the management of Council's own corporate carbon and water 'footprint'. This focus ensures that the Council is able to demonstrate leadership in minimising its energy and water consumption within its own operations, and putting appropriate strategies and reporting processes in place. The sound management of the organisation's energy, fuel, and water resources also minimises cost impacts for Council's ratepayers as fuel, energy, and water prices increase in the coming years in response to market and policy changes.
Council has installed 12 roof-top solar PV systems with a combined total capacity of 145 kw on Council operational buildings. Council’s largest PV systems are located at the Council’s Civic Centre, Kilburn Depot, and Lefevre Recreation Centre, being designed to mitigate over a combined 90 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
South Australia is the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on earth. We have recently experienced long term drought conditions unprecedented in the state's history. It is expected that Adelaide will continue to experience now and in the future, more warmer and dryer conditions due to the onset of climate change. The impact of dryer conditions in the future will exacerbate the reduction in availability of water from the Murray River which normally supplies up to 80% of Adelaide's water each year. It is clear that Adelaide will need to be more self-sufficient in ensuring a more diversified and adequate 'fit for use' water supply to sustain the community's quality of life and economic future.
Local Governments are undertaking significant projects to strictly monitor and manage the use of water, particularly in the irrigation of reserves and recreational use areas. Port Adelaide Enfield Council has prepared an Irrigation Management Plan, which will ensure sound management of water use in public open space areas.
In 2012, the South Australian Government introduced the Water Industry Act, which allows for ‘third parties’ other than SA Water to become providers of water and sewerage services.
Water Efficiency management in Australia is a key priority for Governments and large enterprises ongoing, and will continue to be important for the future as diminishing water resources become the focus of new management policies. The National Urban Water Planning Principles review 2014-2015 was undertaken by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and from this developed the National Urban Water Planning Principles, which has set the bench mark for requiring higher standards in the water industry. The onus will be on cities around Australia to be more efficient in their use of water, particularly in relation to reducing pressure on the River Murray, which has been the main source of water for the State (and the Council) in the past.
The effects of projected climate change in the region also point to more intense rainfall events, higher evaporation rates and reduced overall rainfall in the future, which will drive the need for greater efficiency of water use. Local stormwater wetlands are critical in this process by retaining the local run-off water and re-using it to reduce mains water use.
One of the main focuses for Council over the next four years is to upgrade a number of reserve irrigation systems to "best practice" water efficient technology to meet turf Australian standards, while substantially reducing mains water use. Council over the years have also investigated alternative solutions to "green-up" spaces, such as planting drought tolerant species and installing water sensitive urban design systems to retain and reuse the street stormwater such as the example located at Murchison Street, Mansfield Park.