Water project vital to unlocking agriculture potential in the region
Harvey Water general manager Bradd Hamersley has labelled the Myalup-Wellington project as the “best opportunity” for farming within the Collie River Irrigation District to blossom into the future.
His comments were made after a presentation he and Collie Water project manager Brant Edwards delivered to update the community on efforts to lower Wellington Dam salinity levels.
Mr Hamersley said modelling suggested salinity levels in the State’s second-biggest dam would reach a level unpalatable for livestock by 2035.
“In terms of growing anything productively at that point it is extremely difficult,” he said.
“That is the window we are working with though.
“If we can get the salinity down to below 700mg/L we should be able to see the irrigation district be revitalised to produce a higher value crop type.”
In December Mr Edwards said he hoped elements would be in place to start water extraction from the eastern branch of the Collie River near Buckingham by winter.
He said it had not been possible because approvals were not in place to access the Griffin Coal’s Muja mine void to store water.
“We still need to finalise the agreement with Griffin, but probably more importantly the approval process through their State agreement administered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation,” he said.
“Griffin, in conjunction with Collie Water, need to get approval to use that void for storage.
“Once we have access to that void we can conceivably start removing water from the river before we have the desalination plant ready to go.”
Mr Edwards said environmental approvals, land access and commercial agreements were still to be finalised for the wider project.
He said a tender for the first phase of the project construction, which involves building a desalination plant and pipelines, would be awarded later this year.
“We still very much have an eye on starting the first phase of the project early next year,” he said.
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