Burra’s water pressure

SOUTH Gippsland Water users could face a tightening of restrictions to help satisfy a Burra Foods plan to produce dried

infant milk formula for the Asian market.

Production will begin from as early as February next year, subject to shareholder approval.

The company is struggling for water now, and will require an extra 400,000 litres required per day for six months of the year. The company plans to spend $2 million on a filtration system guaranteeing it the purest of water. Older parts of the factory will be bulldozed as operations shift into high gear.

Whatever the future of water in the region, the company needs the filtration system upgrade, as neither local water nor that from Melbourne has been deemed pure enough.

In recent months the company has been meeting South Gippsland Water on a weekly basis and talking about its water woes.

A spokesperson for Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said the State Government was “fully aware of Burra Foods’ expansion plans for the processing plant at Korumburra and their extra water needs”.
“Representatives from the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, including Regional Development Victoria, have met with representatives of Burra Foods to discuss the water infrastructure needs with a view to the company seeking funding through the Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund,” he said.

But the area is unlikely to have any extra water, save for a substantial increase in rainfall, until South Gippsland Water’s planned connection to Melbourne’s water supply occurs through the northern towns’ connection project.

The timeframe – if it occurs at all – has been put at between four and six years. South Gippsland Water is unlikely to get a nod from the State Government until May next year. The completion of the project would take between three and five years from the approval date.

The strategy provides for the construction of an additional pipeline from Lance Creek Reservoir to the northern towns, including Leongatha, Korumburra Poowong, Loch and Nyora.

South Gippsland Water managing director Philippe du Plessis said he had only recently been informed of the Burra Foods plan.

“Logical tells us that we couldn’t supply the water on a regular, risk free basis. In 2008-9 or ’10-11 it would have been fine. This year it would put us in considerably difficulty with the current rationing system,” Mr du Plessis said.

“They’re changing habits as far as water use goes among businesses. They’re reacting, and rightly so, to world commodity prices, economic conditions and opportunities in markets. But that poses a real risk to our planning for infrastructure.

“That’s why the northern towns’ connection project is such an important project. It actually underwrites all this stuff.  If Burra Foods is committed to this and they’re moving forward regardless, we have to come up with an understanding of what their requirements will be.”

Pumping from the Tarwin two months earlier than in previous years could be an option, but a tightening of residential water use has not been ruled out.

“It’s a conversation we need to have with Burra Foods and the community, because they’re intrinsically linked. In the next three or four years we really need to do something about the water supply,” Mr du Plessis said.

“And we’ll need to have the conversation between the community and Burra Foods, to say, we all share this resource. We need to ask, what is an appropriate solution? How are we jointly going to address shortages of water in the next three or four years?

“Is it all community pain and Burra Foods gets all the water it needs? Or is it a shared responsibility?”


Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=7231

Posted by on May 28 2013. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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