A new water infrastructure initiative in the Collie River, Harvey and Waroona districts in south-west Western Australia is set to improve water quality and grow irrigated agriculture production in the region.
Led by Collie Water, the $396 million project aims to reduce salinity in the Wellington Dam, Western Australia’s second largest reservoir.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said the Federal Government is committing $190 million to the project.
“Saline water will be pumped from the Collie River East Branch to reduce salt flows into the Wellington Dam. A private desalination facility will be built near Collie to produce potable water to be delivered to the Harris Dam,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The Burekup Weir will be improved to provide increased head pressure, while existing open irrigation channels below the weir will be replaced with a closed pipe network to extend pressurised water supply and increase the area under irrigation.
“The project is also working to deliver new irrigation water to Myalup to support expansion of the region’s existing highly productive irrigated agricultural industry.”
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said, “The Myalup-Wellington project is a significant economic development project that offers an innovative, long-term solution to the salinity problems in the Wellington Dam.
“The project is expected to increase supply of potable water into the Harris Dam by 10GL per year. It’ll boost Western Australia’s gross state product by more than $570 million each year and support up to 830 jobs throughout the construction and operation phases.”
Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Food, Alannah MacTiernan, said access to fit-for-purpose water is vital for the region’s agricultural growth.
“The Myalup-Wellington Project will help secure the future of the region in a drying climate, creating opportunities for expanded horticulture and agriculture.
“This is a long-term project staged over the next five to seven years.
“Work is underway to increase the area of timber plantations in the upper Wellington Dam catchment to assist in the management of catchment salinity.
“Collie Water is progressing design plans and has commenced its tender process for the construction of the desalination plant.”
Western Australian Minister for Water, Dave Kelly, said the environmental benefits of the project are significant.
“This project will enable great utilisation of the significant water resource in the Wellington Dam,” Mr Kelly said.
“It will also deliver greater certainty in water supplies for those in the region.”
The project is jointly funded, with the Australian Government investing $190 million, the Western Australian Government $37 million, and Collie Water and private investors $169 million.