Foun­tain of hopes

Southern Telegraph - - Front Page - Ce­cilia Allen

A study into a man­aged aquifer recharge is tak­ing place to see if long-term wa­ter sup­plies can be se­cured for the pro­posed Peel Food Zone which could cre­ate long-term em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and se­cure food pro­duc­tion for do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­kets.

The pro­posed Peel Food Zone cov­ers about 42,000ha across the Shires of Mur­ray and Ser­pen­tine-Jar­rah­dale, north-east of Man­durah, and aims to be one of Western Aus­tralia’s lead­ing agribusi­ness hubs for re­search, sci­ence and in­no­va­tive food pro­duc­tion en­ter­prises and pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties. The study will as­sess how stormwa­ter can be cap­tured and stored in a deep aquifer dur­ing win­ter, and then ac­cessed for ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture in the sum­mer.

Peel De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Ward said a suc­cess­ful MAR scheme would form part of the long-term plan for man­ag­ing the wa­ter de­mands for Trans­form Peel’s Peel Food Zone.

“Trans­form Peel is un­der way on many lev­els and this MAR study is the first phys­i­cal ev­i­dence of the in­no­va­tion we’re ap­ply­ing to the pro­gram,” he said.

“A MAR scheme could pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to cap­ture nu­tri­ent-en­riched ground­wa­ter and treat it prior to stor­ing it in the deep aquifer — so it’s not lead­ing into the estuary — then re­cover the wa­ter when re­quired.

“Low­er­ing the wa­ter ta­ble here has the po­ten­tial to also lower the cost of land­fill re­quired of the Peel Busi­ness Park.”

Wa­ter Min­is­ter Dave Kelly said to grow sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Peel re­gion, in­no­va­tive wa­ter man­age­ment op­tions would be re­quired to re­spond to the im­pacts of cli­mate change.

“The study is an im­por­tant sci­en­tific step in find­ing a vi­able wa­ter re­source so­lu­tion for Trans­form Peel,” he said. Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said Trans­form Peel was ex­pected to cre­ate thou­sands of long-term em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ments in peri-ur­ban ar­eas, such as the Peel Food Zone present fan­tas­tic opp­tu­ni­ties for re­gional job creation and to meet de­mand from ex­port mar

kets,” she said.

Pic­ture: Peel De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion

The De­part­ment of Wa­ter’s Andy El­lett, Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan, Mur­ray-Welling­ton MLA Robyn Clarke, Can­ning MHR An­drew Hastie, Shire of Mur­ray pres­i­dent Ma­ree Reid, Dave Kelly, and Peel De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chief An­drew Ward.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.