The Australian Government has invested in a feasibility study to address the high salinity of Wellington Dam and ensure irrigators can take full advantage of the water source.

WA Water Minister Mia Davies welcomed an Australian Government commitment of $1 million through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund to undertake full feasibility work on a plan to address salinity in Wellington Dam.

Collie Water, a joint venture between Harvey Water Cooperative and Aqua Ferre Holdings will co-ordinate the study in collaboration with the Department of Water and the Myalup-Wellington Ministerial Steering Group.

Ms Davies said the establishment of a localised irrigation scheme for landholders near the Collie township was also a possibility if salinity levels in Wellington Dam could be lowered.

“Work will start shortly to develop all aspects of the Collie Water consortium’s proposal. This includes a desalination option for Wellington dam, where rising salinity means much of the reservoir’s annual allocation of 85 gigalitres of water is not being fully utilised by irrigators or industry,” Ms Davies said.

“Collie Water’s preferred solution is to address salinity issues through diversion, a desalination plant and some forestation and deliver higher quality water in a pressurised pipeline network through the Collie River Irrigation District and into the Myalup horticulture precinct.

“This project could be transformational and potentially address water supply limitations at Myalup – one of our important vegetable growing districts.”

Collie Water became a preferred respondent to the Liberal National Government’s Water for Food program’s expressions of interest (EOI) process in late 2015 to identify parties with potential solutions for the dam’s salinity problems.

It has since worked with shortlisted desalination companies IDE Technologies and Valoriza to further develop its proposal.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the $40 million Royalties for Regions Water for Food program was focused on economic growth in regional communities.

“Water for Food is a major part of the State Government’s unprecedented investment in the agricultural sector under the $350 million Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiative, which aims to strengthen regional communities where agriculture is a major economic activity,” Mr Redman said.

“I am pleased to see Royalties for Regions investing in projects such as this one to create significant long-term benefits to our regional communities.”

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