Adelaide region

Overview: 2013–14

The Adelaide region is located in the southeast of South Australia, on the east coast of the Gulf St Vincent. It extends from the Barossa Valley in the north to the Fleurieu Peninsula in the south, and includes metropolitan Adelaide, the Northern Adelaide Plains and the Western Mount Lofty Ranges. The region includes the Gawler, Little Para, Torrens, Onkaparinga and Myponga rivers, which drain into the Gulf St Vincent, flowing west and southwest from the Mount Lofty Ranges. The region also includes several smaller rivers along the Fleurieu Peninsula that flow west into the Gulf St Vincent and southeast into the Southern Ocean.

The 2013–14 year was a much more favourable year in the Adelaide region in terms of rainfall and storage volumes. After the below average conditions experienced in the previous year where several major water storages decreased in volume, above average rainfall, including well above average rainfall experienced in July-August 2013 and February 2014, helped to replenish storage volumes from 87,330 ML at 30 June 2013 to 122,502 ML at 30 June 2014. The highest gains were seen in the Kangaroo Creek, South Para and Mount Bold Reservoirs where some volumes increased by over 50%. Closing net water assets in the Adelaide region were 204,375 ML, compared to 171,155 ML at the end of the 2012–13 year. For more information on the region's water assets, refer to Water accounting statements.

The Adelaide region relies on a diverse range of water resources to supply its urban water system. Although the volume of water supplied to the urban water system has remained similar in the past two years, the type of water sourced has varied. The 2013–14 year saw an increase in desalinated water supplied from the Adelaide Desalination Plant at Port Stanvac. Water supplied from this facility has increased each year since it was commissioned in December 2012. The plant can produce up to 100,000 ML per year and has provided 3,816 ML in 2011–12, 36,472 ML in 2012–13 and 60,950 ML in 2013–14. The desalination plant provides the Adelaide region with a climate independant water source and helps to alleviate demand on surface water storages, and inter-region tranfers from the River Murray. Further information on urban water can be found in the Urban water system note.

Several irrigation schemes are reported in the Account including Barossa Infrastructure Limited, Virginia Pipeline Scheme and Willunga Basin Water Company. The volume of water supplied to these companies was around 15% less than the volume supplied in the 2012–13 year. Around 75% of water supplied in 2013–14 was the delivery of recycled water from wastewater treatment plants or from community wastewater management schemes. A further 24% was delivered through inter-region transfer of River Murray water and the remainder was recycled water provided from groundwater extracted through the Aldinga Aquifer Storage and Recovery Scheme.  The irrigation schemes of the region are explained in the Irrigation Scheme note.

The key water account information for the Adelaide region during the 2013–14 year is presented in the following table. Information on the uncertainty associated with the volumes presented in the table is provided in the relevant sections of the account.


Contextual information


Climate Overview



Long–term average


Rainfall: 712 mm


Rainfall: 443 mm


Rainfall: 634 mm

For more detail on the Adelaide climate refer to Climate overview.


Water overviewMyponga RiverNorth Para RiverOnkaparinga River
above mean annual flowbelow mean annual flowwell below mean annual flow
For more detail on streamflow in the Adelaide region refer to Water overview.


Water accounting statements

Accounting statements 2013–142012–13
Total water assets (as at 30 June)211,107175,670
Total water liabilities (as at 30 June)6,7323,941
Change in net water assets33,220(11,904)
Closing net water assets204,375171,155
For more detail on water assets and water liabilities refer to Water Accounting statements.


Notes: supporting information


Surface water storage
Surface water 30 June 201430 June 2013
Total capacityVolume% of capacityVolume% of capacity
197,871 ML122,502 ML62%87,330 ML44%
For more detail on surface water storage in the Adelaide region refer to Surface water.


Water abstractions
GroundwaterTotal water abstracted 
2013–142012–13Recent activity

Surface water:

68,783 ML

Surface water:


Groundwater abstractions for other statutory rights have decreased. Surface water diversions for urban water supply have increased.


43,699 ML


54,287 ML

For more detail on water abstraction in the Adelaide region refer to Surface water and Groundwater.


Urban water supply
Urban water systemTotal water supplied 
2013–142012–13Recent activity
159,198 ML162,173 MLIncreased intake of desalinated water to the urban water system. Decreased reliance on River Murray water.
For more detail on the urban water system in the Adelaide region refer to Urban water system.


Irrigation scheme supply
Irrigation schemeTotal water supplied 
2013–142012–13Recent activity
25,576 ML29,664 MLSlight reduction in demand from irrigation schemes, which slightly reduced reliance on River Murray Water.
For more detail on the irrigation scheme in the Adelaide region refer to Irrigation scheme.