Money flows for salty dam

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - David Charlesworth

THE State Gov­ern­ment has con­firmed its sup­port for a multi-mil­lion dol­lar plan to lower salin­ity in Welling­ton Dam to ben­e­fit farm­ers through­out the South West.

Last week the State Gov­ern­ment con­firmed its $37 mil­lion com­mit­ment to the Myalup-Welling­ton Dam pro­ject.

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment and Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan called on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional Wa­ter In­fras­truc­ture De­vel­op­ment Fund to fund the bulk of the $380 mil­lion pro­ject.

Har­vey Wa­ter is among a num­ber of com­pa­nies in­volved in the pro­ject and will be putting $30 mil­lion of its own money into the pro­ject as well.

Har­vey Wa­ter gen­eral man­ager Bradd Hamer­s­ley was pleased to hear about the State Gov­ern­ment sup­port­ing the pro­ject and match­ing the fund­ing promised by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

“There’s po­ten­tially 1500 jobs both di­rectly and in­di­rectly, a huge amount of stim­u­lus for the State Gov­ern­ment for a $37 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion,” he said.

“We just need pos­i­tive con­fir­ma­tion from In­fras­truc­ture and hope­fully we can kick it off.”

The 165gL Welling­ton Dam has a salin­ity level of about 1200 parts per mil­lion, which greatly af­fects its suit­abil­ity for farm­ers who rely on it, Mr Hamer­s­ley said.

“In terms of hor­ti­cul­ture that’s push­ing the en­ve­lope, it’s not great for much out­side of fod­der,” he said.

“It is ef­fec­tively the sec­ond largest wa­ter storage in WA and we aren’t able to prop­erly use it.”

Mr Hamer­s­ley said due to de­for­esta­tion along the trib­u­tary rivers, par­tic­u­larly the Col­lie River, 5000tonnes of salt was washed into the dam in an an­nual two-month pe­riod at the start of win­ter.

As part of the pro­ject, 20gL will be drawn from the trib­u­taries at the start of this two-month pe­riod.

From here it would be de­sali­nated and sent to the Harris Dam as a potable wa­ter sup­ply for the Great South­ern re­gion.

This process would also re­duce the salt lev­els in the Welling­ton Dam, drop­ping to a level be­tween 600 to 800ppm in­side three years and pos­si­bly fur­ther to 500ppm.

Mr Hamer­s­ley said this wa­ter would be of much higher qual­ity and bet­ter de­liv­ered through a more ef­fi­cient sys­tem to the Col­lie River dis­trict farms.

With a more ef­fi­cient sys­tem, 15gL of this wa­ter would also be piped to the Myalup ir­ri­ga­tion precinct which is re­ly­ing on ground ex­trac­tion bores.

Mr Hamer­s­ley said the bore wa­ter was not only run­ning out but salin­ity lev­els were also in­creas­ing. Mr Hamer­s­ley said sup­ply­ing Myalup with higher qual­ity wa­ter from Welling­ton Dam could po­ten­tially quadru­ple its pro­duc­tiv­ity.

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