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Opening Up South Australia's Reservoirs

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will open up a number of reservoirs across South Australia for recreational fishing and other leisure activities.

The Problem

Access to reservoirs for recreational activities such as fishing, sailing and kayaking is the norm in many interstate and overseas reservoirs.

However, in South Australia our closed reservoir system sees us miss out on sporting, recreational, tourism and other economic development opportunities despite the fact that an open reservoir system does not negatively impact the safety or quality of our drinking water.

In 2014 the state Labor Government made an election promise that it would enable recreational fishing at five reservoirs, but plans for two of these (Hindmarsh Valley and Beetaloo) were abandoned much to the dismay of local communities hoping for a significant economic boost for the tourism that could flow from the initiative.

Today Warren and Bundaleer reservoirs are both open for recreational fishing, but progress has been painfully slow and neither are likely to reach their full potential with the state government’s go-slow approach.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will open up a number of reservoirs across South Australia for recreational fishing and other leisure activities.

We have already separately committed to opening up Happy Valley Reservoir as part of our vision for Glenthorne National Park (, while we will open the gates of the Tod and Baroota reservoirs, the two sites that Labor had promised to provide public access to, but has failed to deliver.

New reservoirs that we will direct SA Water to open for recreation include:

Myponga Reservoir
Myponga Reservoir is only an hour’s drive from Adelaide’s CBD and in the heart of the Fleurieu Peninsula, one of South Australia’s greatest tourism destinations. This reservoir is an area of outstanding natural beauty and opening it up for recreation has the potential to reinvigorate the town of Myponga as a tourism destination.

South Para Reservoir
South Para Reservoir was opened for a recreational fishing trial which ran from February 1996 until 2010. The reservoir was then closed to allow for maintenance works to be undertaken on the dam wall but has not been reopened since the completion of this work. On the edge of the Barossa Valley, this site has significant tourism potential and is easily accessible from metropolitan Adelaide.

Hope Valley Reservoir
Completed in 1873, Hope Valley Reservoir remains Adelaide’s oldest reservoir still in use. It is in a tributary of the River Torrens in the lower Adelaide foothills. This reservoir is found in the heart of Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs and has the potential to provide recreational opportunities to many locals living in that part of the city.

Making this a reality
For all reservoirs, it is anticipated that recreational activities could include walking, cycling, kayaking, sailing and fishing. We would also look to partner with recreational fishing bodies to stock reservoirs, with anglers paying an annual fee to enjoy this opportunity.

We will ensure that the opening of each reservoir is undertaken with great care to ensure that there is no negative impact on the quality and security of our drinking water supplies. This has been managed effectively interstate and overseas and also here in South Australia where we get a significant proportion of our drinking water from the River Murray where many and varied recreational activities occur, yet we clean the water to the highest of standards for consumption as drinking water.

Queensland opened its reservoirs a couple of years ago and has developed a high quality body of work around risk management and delivery of this initiative, much of which can be easily replicated and adapted for South Australian reservoirs.

Part of our plan for SA