Process begins to assess SA's water utility assets
Water utility assets owned by three South Australian local government councils are seeking registrations of interest (ROI) in the first stage of a potential three-stage market testing process to determine the future of the assets.
The assets are contained within a consortium of the three local government councils — the City of Onkaparinga, the Adelaide Hills Council and the Rural City of Murray Bridge — and are locally based community services independent of South Australia’s main water storage and supply distribution network. All of the assets are operated and maintained by the councils in accordance with South Australia’s Water Industry Act as administered by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia.
South Australian-based group Adelaide Equity Partners has been retained by the consortium to manage and execute the process at state, national and/or international levels. Outcomes from the market engagement will be progressively presented to each council for decisions to continue to engage with responders or abandon the process at any stage. The consortium has stressed that there is no guarantee of any future sale, change in ownership or management of the assets.
If the ROI generates relevant interest, the process will move to a stage two formal request for proposals from selected parties. Any approved third stage will see due diligence undertaken with preferred providers, with a view to moving to final recommendations and commercial completion.
If fully progressed, the process is designed to identify providers able to deliver any range of outcomes from acquisition of all or part of the offering, or joint venture partnerships with council based not on a change of ownership but on delivery of improved efficiencies.
Total assets on offer include:
- 16 community wastewater management systems across the three council districts consisting of ~220 km of sewer mains servicing ~6500 customers;
- five stormwater harvesting/alternative water schemes servicing customers in the City of Onkaparinga; and
- two community water management systems servicing ~160 customers in Murray Bridge.
A consortium spokesperson said the process would provide councils with realistic benchmarks to inform decisions about the assets’ future ownership and operations.
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