An innovative desalination technology has allowed the town of Piawaning, 160km north of Perth, to secure the Wheatbelt’s first desalination and distribution system.

The community used a state government grant to implement the reverse-osmosis desalination project.

Western Australian Water Minister, Mia Davies, congratulated the Shire of Victoria Plains and the Piawaning Progress Association on the completion of the $260,000 project.

“The Piawaning reverse-osmosis desalination project will be able to produce 500,000 litres of non-potable water every three weeks; this water is from a brackish bore that could not be used previously but is now available for livestock and firefighting,” Ms Davies said.

In 2014, the state’s Department of Water provided a $100,000 Community Water Supply Program grant for the project after farmers identified the need for a new sustainable emergency water supply to battle low rainfall and growing wildfire threats.

“As part of an action plan by the shire to ensure all towns and surrounding farms have strong and adequate emergency water supplies, Piawaning’s desalinated water supply in the north-eastern corner of the shire complements other emergency supplies in the western, southern and central sections of the shire,” Ms Davies said.

Ms Davies said the state government was committed to diversifying alternative water sources that maximised the productive use of non-potable water in areas vulnerable to water deficiencies.

“Regional communities are central to Western Australia’s identity and economy, and alternative water sources build their resilience to meet the challenges of climate while also providing extra supply capacity to support economic development,” Ms Davies said.

“To continue this work, in July we announced the state’s single-biggest investment in regional non-drinking water projects – the $30 million Watering WA initiative, funded by Royalties for Regions – to provide hundreds of millions of litres of fit-for-purpose water for maintaining sports grounds and public spaces, industry supply, and emergency livestock and firefighting purposes.

“This six-year program of practical on-ground works is funding local governments, farmers, community groups and businesses to co-invest in new and improved infrastructure to better harvest, store, treat and distribute underutilised water sources.”

Watering WA Towns accelerates the work of the Community Water Supply Program, which has funded 120 projects worth $5.5 million since 1995.

Watering WA Farms expands the Department of Water’s Farm Water Rebate Scheme to include farms connected to scheme water – with more than $36 million spent building capacity on more than 3,900 farms not connected to scheme water since 1995. 

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