A huge $500,000 has been allocated to a new water infrastructure project on the Eyre Peninsula by the South Australian Government in an attempt to minimise the impact of drought in the area.

The funding will help South Australia secure a national grant application for the $1.43 million Coolanie Water Scheme project, in the District Council of Franklin Harbour area.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Tim Whetstone, said the Coolanie Water Scheme project is currently being assessed for a National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) Drought Round grant of $715,000.

“If successful in leveraging federal funding, this project will establish reticulated water supply to 22 farming properties for stock use which are currently reliant on farm dams, rainwater tanks and buying in truckloads of water,” Mr Whetstone said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government will provide $500,000 towards the water project from the South Australian Regional Growth Fund, adding to a $215,000 commitment from the District Council of Franklin Harbour.

“The State Government is committed to our regions, supporting local producers and communities with the impacts of drought and is pleased to offer funding towards this important project which will help provide a drought-proof supply of water to a number of farms.

“This project has been identified by the Council as a priority for the local community which continues to be adversely affected by drought, with impacts being felt not only by local farmers and producers, but by the broader community.

“Just last week, the Premier and I visited farmers on the Eyre Peninsula and listened to their concerns and now we have acted. This permanent water infrastructure solution would directly support ongoing drought resilience for the area and provide positive economic activity in the community.

“I welcome the Federal Liberal Government’s initiative to offer $72 million nationally to fund permanent drought-breaking water infrastructure and look forward to working with the Liberal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey MP, to advocate for this important project.”

If NWIDF funding is secured, 3.6km of 100mm diameter cast iron pipe will be replaced by SA Water with larger 150mm diameter, modern PVC pipe, and Franklin Harbour council will install a 50,000L header tank, a 250,000L storage tank and the water distribution network to supply water to 22 farms.

This project would supply up to 210,000 litres of water per day, and, by providing increased and more secure access to water, would allow farms to build up their breeding stock and increase lamb production, increasing profitability and resilience when cropping income is low.

The State Government’s $150 million ten year Regional Growth Fund has been established to unlock new economic activity in our regions, to deliver critical economic infrastructure to create direct benefit across regional industries, and to strengthen regional communities.

The Commonwealth Government’s NWIDF Drought Round offers $72 million nationally to fund permanent water infrastructure to increase supply and access to water for primary producers and rural communities in drought-affected areas. 

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