Weir project to help beef in­dus­try

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - David Charlesworth

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.

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