A new recycled water scheme will strengthen water security for Wamuran farmers, providing year-round supply for one of the country’s fastest growing regions.
Unitywater is building the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme (WIS), which will take Class A recycled wastewater from the Caboolture South Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) to a number of farms for irrigation.
This project ensures a sustainable future for the growing regional population and reduces the nutrient discharge into the Caboolture River.
In Stage 1 alone, eleven tonnes of nitrogen and 1.8 tonnes of phosphorus will be diverted away from the river.
Unitywater Chairman, Michael Arnett, said the pipeline was an important investment to support population growth in the region and reinforced Unitywater’s approach to sustainable development.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Unitywater and the community, and we’re proud to be contributing to the sustainability of this region,” Mr Arnett said.
“Higher wastewater volumes due to the increasing population in the Moreton Bay region was the catalyst for the scheme.
“In its first stage, it will deliver about 2.6GL of recycled water per year to a number of farms in the region that were selected to demonstrate the feasibility of the scheme.
“That’s the equivalent of 1,051 Olympic swimming pools.”
Mr Arnett said the scheme was being built by the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme Joint Venture – made up of contractor Pensar and two local growers, Twin View Turf and Pinata Farms.
The joint venture was awarded the design and construction contract in October 2019, following an open-market tender process.
“The design has now been completed and Unitywater is thrilled that this exciting project is coming to fruition,” Mr Arnett said.
Pensar Managing Director, Karl Yunker, said the project provided local growers with climate-independent irrigation, while reducing demand on dams and creeks, and diverting discharge into local river systems.
In turn, the scheme provides Unitywater with an efficient solution for water reuse and sustainable irrigation.
“We formed a joint venture with two of the main irrigators in the region so we could tailor a solution with the end user in mind – making sure that what we’re proposing, designing and delivering meets the needs of growers, and ultimately, Unitywater,” Mr Yunker said.
Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor, Peter Flannery, said Council was excited to have the innovative environmental project in the region.
“Moreton Bay is the third largest council in the country, and we have one of the fastest growth rates in Australia,” Mr Flannery said.
“This project helps address our expanding population and aligns with our environmental initiatives.
“It will create more jobs in the agricultural and downstream industries, and have positive flow on effects for the local community.”
Pinata Farms Managing Director and third generation business owner, Gavin Scurr, said the scheme would significantly benefit the region.
“The Wamuran Irrigation Scheme provides water security, potential for greater crop production, and creates employment within the local region. The whole community benefits,” Mr Scurr said.
Twin View Turf General Manager, Lawrence Stephenson, said the Wamuran Irrigation Scheme was critical for water security in the region.
“It will allow growers to build strong businesses that aren’t vulnerable to changes in weather events and patterns, building a solid foundation for the future,” Mr Stephenson said.
“The region has a number of long-term agribusinesses including avocado, pineapple, berry and turf producers planning sustainable futures that span the next 30 years.
“The Wamuran Irrigation Scheme brings significant confidence to this local industry.”
Construction commences in February 2022, with the scheme expected to be operational in mid 2024.