$400 million water plan set to start flowing

Tari JeffersSouth Western Times
Collie Water's $400 million plan to address salinity in the Collie River for agriculture and drinking water.
Camera IconCollie Water's $400 million plan to address salinity in the Collie River for agriculture and drinking water.

A $400 million plan to bring higher quality drinking and irrigation water to the South West is one step closer.

The Myalup-Wellington Project to reduce salinity levels in the Wellington Dam and Collie River hit a new milestone recently when tenders closed for the construction of the desalination plant.

Collie Water project manager Brant Edwards said the tender would be awarded to one of the two short-listed applicants by the end of the year.

“We’ll be looking at technical expertise, proven results, technical solution and cost,” he said.

“This is a very significant project for South West agriculture and a significant project for the culture of Collie too.

“We want to do anything we can do to the assist the Collie community.”

Mr Edwards said the project was likely to create a couple of hundred jobs throughout the construction phase of the project, with accurate figures to be determined once the tender was awarded.

The Myalup-Wellington Project will likely begin construction in the first half of next year and will take about 18 months to complete.

“We want to be extracting water from next winter, otherwise we have to wait until the year after and lose a 12-month window,” Mr Edwards said.

Water will be extracted from Buckingham, 16km east of Bunbury, where there was a high salinity content and good water flow.

“We will be looking to store water in the disused Griffin Coal mine void,” Mr Edwards said.

The water extraction is not a new concept and was something the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation tried in the mid 2000s in the same location.

About 8-9 gigalitres, subject to rainfall, will be extracted over a 3-4 month period during high flow.

Other aspects of the stage one phase include getting the final land access and environmental approvals.

The project has $140 million Federal funding, $35 million State funding and the rest is private investment.

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