A new supply of climate-independent recycled water from SA Water’s Gumeracha Wastewater Treatment Plant is delivering successful results, with apple grower Joyson Orchards having harvested its first apple crop just four years after investing in a 17,000 tree expansion.

The Adelaide Hills orchard is expecting to harvest 100 tonnes of Rockit apples that will go towards satisfying a high national demand.

Joyson Orchards’ Business Manager Peter Oborn, with SA Water’s Manager of Business Relations David Eggers and Business Relations Consultant Laura Greaves at the orchard’s apple plantation in Gumeracha

Joyson Orchards’ Director, Mark Joyce, said it was exciting to see the fruits of their labour and collaboration with SA Water deliver results.

“Water availability in managing primary production is paramount – especially in our state – and having a reliable climate-independent water source has drought-proofed our property, securing our future,” Mr Joyce said.

More than 30 million litres of recycled water from SA Water’s treatment plant has been supplied to Joyson Orchards so far this financial year, with the resulting growth creating two more full-time jobs and up to 45 seasonal positions.

“SA Water showed a genuine willingness to help us find a solution and the outcome we achieved was less expensive, while providing the level of water security essential to the viability of our project,” Mr Joyce said.

“There was significant investment on each side with SA Water’s planned upgrade to their Gumeracha Wastewater Treatment Plant, and a new containment dam built on our side to store the water they produced.

“We get a climate-independent source of nutrient-rich water and they grow a customer, and reduce the amount of water that needs to be returned to the environment.”

SA Water General Manager Customer Delivery, Kerry Rowlands, said the Joyson Orchards story showed how smart thinking about water can grow South Australia’s economy.

“The critical step in their development was securing a reliable source of additional water – using recycled water provides great economic and environmental value,” Ms Rowlands said.

“We invest $300 million a year in sustaining and enhancing our state-wide network, to ensure it continues to play an integral role in South Australia’s social and economic development.

“Recycled water has a higher level of nutrients which is great for horticultural application, and it’s widely used by fruit and vegetable growers across the Northern Adelaide Plains to grow food for domestic and international markets.

“It’s rewarding when we’re able to work in partnership with our customers to find opportunities that deliver positive outcomes for all of us, unlocking potential in their business and building a better life for our communities.”

SA Water is currently calling on ideas from prospective users of high-quality recycled water from its Hahndorf Wastewater Treatment Plant to expand use in the Adelaide Hills and support increased irrigation opportunities.

India Murphy

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