Fountain of hopes
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.
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.