New water infrastructure in Western Australia is set to have a significant impact on irrigated agriculture production in the Collie River, Harvey and Waroona districts.

Led by Collie Water, the $396 million project aims to reduce salinity in the Wellington Dam, WA’s second largest reservoir.

Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of The Nationals and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the Australian Government is committed to constructing the water infrastructure of 21st century.

“The Myalup-Wellington project is a significant economic development project which offers an innovative, long-term solution to the salinity problems in the Wellington Dam,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Project is expected to increase supply of potable water into the Harris Dam by ten gigalitres per year. It’ll boost WA’s gross state product by more than $570 million each year and support up to 830 jobs throughout the construction and operation phases.”

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, said the government is committing $190 million to the project.

“Saline water will be pumped from the Collie River East Branch to reduce salt flows into the Wellington Dam. A private desalination facility will be built near Collie to produce potable water to be delivered to the Harris Dam,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The Burekup Weir will be improved to provide increased head pressure, while existing open irrigation channels below the weir will be replaced with a closed pipe network to extend pressurised water supply and increase the area under irrigation.

“The project is also working to deliver new irrigation water to Myalup to support expansion of the region’s existing highly productive irrigated agricultural industry.”

WA Agriculture and Food Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, said access to fit-for-purpose water is vital for the region’s agricultural growth.

“The Myalup-Wellington Project will help secure the future of the region in a drying climate, creating opportunities for expanded horticulture and agriculture,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“This is a long-term project – staged over the next five to seven years.

“Work is underway to increase the area of timber plantations in the upper Wellington Dam catchment to assist in the management of catchment salinity.

“Collie Water is progressing design plans and has commenced its tender process for the construction of the desalination plant.”

WA Water Minister, Dave Kelly, said the environmental benefits of the project are significant.

“This project will enable great utilisation of the significant water resource in the Wellington Dam,” Mr Kelly said.

“It will also deliver greater certainty in water supplies for those in the region.”

The project is jointly funded with the Australian Government investing $190 million, the Western Australian Government $37 million and Collie Water and private investors $169 million.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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