Weir project to help beef industry
WAROONA will be the first town to have a weir constructed as part of the Better Collaborative Drainage Management project, aimed at improving water use and reducing fertiliser run-off.
In the two-year program, announced by the State Government on July 2, weirs and similar structures will be built in the Peel region to control the flow of agricultural drains.
The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council will run the $850,000 program with funding from the Government’s Regional Estuaries Initiative.
The first weir will be built 10km west of Waroona in wetlands near the Harvey River. Using an adjustable height, a weir holds back water in the agricultural drain.
By holding back water nutrients can settle and be reabsorbed by the soil.
A trial of the program was run in 2014 with positive results for the environment and farmers.
Water Minister Dave Kelly said the weirs should hold water for several weeks longer into summer, which would lengthen the growing season of pasture and improve farm productivity.
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said the project would help reduce the likelihood of algal blooms in rivers and increase biodiversity at the weir sites.
Mrs Clarke said it would also support farmers in the area, particularly in the beef industry.
“As climate change continues to impact our water supplies in the South West, our farmers are looking for new ways to secure water resources,” she said.
“This project is a win-win, with a reduction in nutrients flowing into our waterways while farmers have more water available for longer.”
Mr Walmsley said the catchment council was doing a lot of good work in the area to reduce fertiliser run-off into the Peel-Harvey Estuary.