The supply of water to the nation’s major cities faces repeating the mistakes that drove up power costs, Infrastructure Australia has warned, with fears of soaring bills and a lack of supply to the fastest-growing parts of Australia.
Releasing a report on the nation’s infrastructure needs, the agency said it appeared the lessons of the Millennium Drought had been ignored or forgotten, just as much of the country faced growing risks from drought and wide-scale water shortages.
Despite the country having the highest per-capita surface water storage capacity in the world, Infrastructure Australia said poor pricing policies, a failure to plan for surging population growth, ageing pipes and climate change were all putting at risk the supply of water to urban areas.
Both Sydney and Melbourne have been forced to boost supplies from their desalination plants this year due to the drought across eastern Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology this month revealed the dry hitting the Murray-Darling basin is the worst since the 1900-02 drought.