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Water Politics in the Sunshine State: Reportage of the Gold Coast Desalination Project in Two Queensland Dailies, 2006–09

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2012

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Debates over water and related issues have become prominent in twenty-first century Australia, where global warming is combining with climatic extremes to produce a volatile public and politics. The specific context of the Gold Coast Desalination Project, to be analysed here, was a prolonged drought earlier in the decade that reduced dams in densely populated South-East Queensland to unprecedented levels. This situation in turn triggered water rationing and uncertainty about the capacity of existing infrastructure to supply one of the fastest-growing areas of Australia. During the crisis, the Queensland state government was criticised in the press for mismanagement of water resources before the drought, and for the inadequate water situation, which ultimately led to the construction of a desalination plant. The period of this study covers the plant's construction and implementation. Capable of providing up to 125 million litres of clean, fresh drinking water to the South-East Queensland region every day, the desalination plant — which remains politically contentious — began in 2006 and was operational in early 2009.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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Water Politics in the Sunshine State: Reportage of the Gold Coast Desalination Project in Two Queensland Dailies, 2006–09
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