Funds flow in salt fight

Hannalore HepburnCountryman
Premier Colin Barnett and Water Minister Mia Davies at Wellington Dam.
Camera IconPremier Colin Barnett and Water Minister Mia Davies at Wellington Dam. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

It was exciting news all round when Premier Colin Barnett and Water Minister Mia Davies announced a $37 million funding boost for the Myalup-Wellington Water for Food project at the Wellington Dam last week.

A part of the Collie Water initiative, a joint venture between Harvey Water and Aqua Ferre, the project aims to improve the salinity level in the Wellington Dam. It will provide piped irrigation for the Collie River Irrigation District from north of Brunswick to Dardanup.

The Premier said the increasing salinity level was limiting the dam’s use for agriculture and horticulture.

“We are committed to growing the agricultural sector to grow production,” Mr Barnett said.

“The State funding has already been committed and the project will go ahead.”

Harvey Water general manager Geoff Calder said it was a happy day as Harvey Water had known for decades something had to be done to address salinity in the Wellington Dam.

“While the salinity in the dam is marginal with 1100mg/l, it is the accumulated salinity in the soil which causes the problems,” Mr Calder said.

“The Collie River east branch carries about 90,000 tonnes of salt per year into the dam and by diverting part of the flow into a mine void, we try to reduce the salinity flowing into the dam by 50 per cent.

“The diverted water will then be pumped to a small desalination plant near the Collie Power Station, desalinated and sold to the Water Corporation for the Harris Dam through which the corporation supplies water to the Great Southern.”

The estimated cost of the Collie Water initiative is $380 million, with Ms Davies confirming the State will seek funding from the private sector and the Federal Government.

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