Australian consulting engineers Sinclair Knight have been selected to conduct a wide-ranging study of large scale infrastructure projects overseas and in Australia as part of the Kimberley Pipeline feasibility study.
The $49,000 contract is the first to be awarded by the Kimberley Water Resources Development Office, and will look particularly at factors which influence getting major infrastructure projects off the ground.
Minister for Water Resources and the North West Ernie Bridge said the study would comprehensively examine the triggers, difficulties, costs and benefits flowing from seven massive infrastructure projects spanning the United States, Turkey, South Africa and Queensland. They include:
· a huge water diversion project in South Africa transporting water from the Lesotho Highlands to major industrial, mining and commercial areas in Johannesburg and the Witwaterswand;
· a major project to irrigate 1.7 million hectares of land in Turkey, with integrated development of agriculture, industry, transport, health and education in eight provinces, covering about 10 per cent of the country's land;
· the California State Water Project which transports water from the Sacramento River in the north to the population centres and south of the State;
· the Port of Gladstone project in Queensland which made Gladstone one of Australia's major industrialised areas;
· the Central Arizona Project which converted sprawling desert into a vast agricultural area by harnassing water from the combined Colorado River and Salt-Gila rivers;
· the Burdekin River Irrigation Project in North Queensland intended to supply water for agricultural, urban and industrial use beyond the Year 2000; and
· a major water pipeline diversion scheme in Colorado to transfer water across the State.
Sinclair Knight environmental manager Allen Gale said he was delighted to be associated with the study, which will see information from the various multi-billion dollar projects co-ordinated by Sinclair Knight's Perth office.
"Projects such as the huge water transfer schemes in California and Turkey have direct relevance to the Kimberley. Lessons learnt and being learned there, together with information on nett economic return, environmental and social impacts, and the all-important developmental spin-offs will be tremendously significant in determining how to best use the massive Kimberley water resource," Mr Gale said.
Mr Bridge said the Kimberley Pipeline study would shortly move into its next phase, with a major study to determine development opportunities and industries which could benefit from access to massive quantities of fresh water.
"If shown to be economically viable and socially and environmentally acceptable, those potential development opportunities may well require extensive infrastructure on the scale of the projects being addressed in the study awarded today," he said.
"Australia needs to look beyond its own shores and learn from the experiences of other countries which are not letting developmental opportunities pass them by."