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Port Augusta : evolution of a city : water

Port Augusta's early growth was hampered by the lack of a good drinking water supply. Water was supplied from a creek on Paterson station under Mount Brown, brought in casks on drays. In the early years of settlement Port Augusta had no reliable drinking water, until a pipeline was laid to bring water to the Port from Woolundunga Springs in the Flinders Ranges. This was operating by late 1865.

It would not be until Port Augusta was connected to a permanent water supply that it could grow as a port and as a town.

There were various attempts during the 1920s and 1930s to overcome water shortage issues with householders sinking bores, and a movement to dam the junction of the Saltia and Albury Creeks and even the town corporation sought to sink a 100m deep bore.

The growth of Port Augusta was finally aided with the laying of the Morgan-Whyalla pipeline from the River Murray in 1944 - at last assuring for the town an adequate water supply.

In the 21st century with the drought and environmental issues surrounding the River Murray, a solar-powered desalination plant is under consideration for the Upper Spencer Gulf at Point Paterson near Port Augusta.


Anderson, RJ, Solid town: the history of Port Augusta, [Port Augusta, S. Aust.]: R.J. Anderson, 1988

Web links:

Aquasol  solar-powered desalination plant project partner

Fishers for South Australia - opinion piece on desalination titled Desalination and South Australia's Gulfs ecosystems.


River Murray: a water source
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