The Victorian Government has awarded $1 million in funding to secure a high-quality recycled water supply for Mt Martha, in the Mornington Peninsula region.
The funding will help connect The Briars and surrounding areas to the Mt Martha treatment plant, which will allow access to water from the South Eastern Outfall.
The Outfall is a pipeline that carries 350 million litres of Class A recycled water a day from the Eastern Treatment Plant in Bangholme to Boags Rocks near Gunnamatta, where it is discharged into the ocean.
Member for Eastern Victoria, Jane Garrett, said it would ensure stage two of The Briars recycled water project could now be delivered.
The funding is on top of $500,000 previously provided by the State Government for stage one.
Mornington Peninsula Mayor, Sam Hearn Hearn, said the Shire had advocated strongly for funding to tap into the secure, high-quality water source that runs via the South Eastern Outfall pipeline along the entire length of the Peninsula.
“The Briars is intended to showcase the potential application of this Class A recycled water for agriculture across the south-east region of the state, developing local skills and knowledge in horticulture, so it’s fantastic to receive funding to continue on with this project,” Mr Heard said.
“Mornington Peninsula is a world-class food growing region and an integral part of Melbourne’s food bowl.
“This funding will help ensure the ongoing sustainability of our $1.1 billion agricultural sector.”
Stage one involves construction of a Class A recycled water pipeline from the Mt Martha treatment plant to The Briars to support the creation of the ‘Green Dreaming’ project, which will showcase regenerative agriculture, land management and horticultural techniques.
In addition, the recycled water will support an expansion of the Wildlife Sanctuary and a vineyard test site, demonstrating climate change-resilient vines and the growth of bush foods for commercial purposes.
South East Water is covering the cost of the design and construction of equipment from the pump station to The Briars/treatment plant boundary fence.
Stage two looks to extend the pipeline across to the beach side of Nepean Highway to irrigate neighbouring Mace Oval, Ferrero Oval, Citation Oval and the Shire Cemetery.
The pipeline will have the capacity to deliver 200mL of water annually once completed, with initial use estimated at 80mL annually.
The Briars project is part of a larger plan the Shire has been advocating strongly for, which would see high-quality recycled water from the South Eastern Outfall redirected to productive use across the Peninsula, effectively drought-proofing the region and providing significant economic and environmental benefits.
Briars Ward councillor, Rosie Clark, said, “Our region produces large volumes of high-quality produce year-round and has a distinguished agricultural history including dairy, viticulture and horticulture.
“We are excited that this funding will help stem the waste of good water going out into the ocean and redirect it to where it is most needed.”
Briars Ward councillor, Bev Colomb, said, “This project will demonstrate a future in which sustainable treatment and use of water is critical to the health and well-being of our communities. I am delighted the State Government has recognised the importance of what we are trying to achieve.”