Adelaide’s desalination plant cost remains the same despite another delay

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By Ricky Roxas | December 20, 2010 10:10 PM EST

The new delay suffered by Adelaide's desalination plant project in South Australia would not jack up its overall cost, despite the initial four-month setback caused by a worker's death.

This according to SA Water, which has been informed by project contractor AdelaideAqua that the desalination facility's target completion date in April 2011 would be pushed a bit later by three months, or July at the earliest.

South Australian Premier Mike Rann expressed surprise that the project was delayed anew as he noted that solid assurance was provided by the plant's builder prior to the delay notice.

Mr Rann admitted that he was disappointed by the new glitch hitting project and he demanded that contractors provide sufficient reason for altering the completion date of the plant, stressing that "there's a substantial amount of government money being put into this and quite frankly I'm very disappointed with the contractors."

On his part, SA Water chief executive John Ringham hinted that the new delay could lead to some amount of financial penalties for AdelaideAqua as he gave assurance that his office is currently reviewing the program "to identify where the changes have occurred from their original program."

However, amidst the guarantee coming from the state government that the project's costs would remain the same, SA opposition water spokesman Mitch Williams thought otherwise and insisted that the new problem would lead to higher water prices in South Australia.

Williams stressed that the SA government's employment of fast-track tactics on the desalination project proved ineffective in completing its construction in time as he pointed out that eventually SA water consumers would be paying the high price for the government's mishandling of the project.

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