Har­vey Wa­ter boss passes on the ba­ton

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - David Charlesworth

A key fig­ure in the early days of Har­vey Wa­ter is leav­ing the com­pany af­ter 20 years of im­prov­ing wa­ter sup­plies to res­i­dents in the South West. Gen­eral man­ager Ge­off Calder will be step­ping down from his post this week af­ter a ca­reer which in­cluded an $85 mil­lion up­grade to the South West’s ir­ri­ga­tion net­works.

AF­TER 20 years keep­ing the taps on in the South West, Har­vey Wa­ter gen­eral man­ager Ge­off Calder is step­ping down.

Mr Calder’s first days at Har­vey Wa­ter were also when it sep­a­rated from the State Gov­ern­ment’s West Aus­tralian Wa­ter Au­thor­ity and be­came a pri­vate com­pany in 1996.

“Some­one said to the di­rec­tors at that time ‘you farm­ers, you’ve got no shot run­ning this com­pany, you’ll be hand­ing it back two years’.

“So 20 years later we’re pretty pleased.”

Mr Calder be­gan in agri­cul­ture, grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of WA, work­ing in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, Laos and Queens­land be­fore com­ing to Har­vey.

He said as well as build­ing up the struc­ture of the com­pany in its early days, one of his big­gest achieve­ments had been the $85 mil­lion up­grade of the pip­ing from dams to farms via a grav­ity pres­sure sys­tem.

“We were los­ing about 30 per cent of the wa­ter from the dam to the farm from leak­age and seep­age,” he said.

“What hap­pens now is ir­ri­ga­tors get their wa­ter from the dam un­der grav­ity pres­sure which is about as good as you can get it to peo­ple.

“They’ve got a huge ad­van­tage now in­stead of hav­ing to flood ir­ri­gate, now they can put in sprin­klers.”

Mr Calder said one of the big­gest changes he had seen had been the ef­fect of cli­mate change, par­tic­u­larly with wa­ter lev­els in dams.

“The over­rid­ing thing is cli­mate change, we col­lect data on ev­ery­thing we lose ba­si­cally.”

While he would be step­ping back, Mr Calder said he would still be around for the tran­si­tion to the new gen­eral man­ager, Bradd Hamer­s­ley, who be­gins next week.

“My time here has been enor­mously in­ter­est­ing, chal­leng­ing, re­ward­ing and fun,” he said.

Pic­ture: David Charlesworth

Pic­ture David Charlesworth

Har­vey Wa­ter gen­eral man­ager Ge­off Calder has seen big changes to the wa­ter land­scape in the South West with cli­mate change leav­ing a big mark on dam lev­els.

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