13/01/2017 - 00:43

$37m for SW water project

13/01/2017 - 00:43

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The state government has committed $37 million to an ambitious desalination and irrigation project in the South West that is led by Perth business executive Peter Fogarty and will cost an estimated $380 million.

$37m for SW water project
Perth business executive Peter Fogarty. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The state government has committed $37 million to an ambitious desalination and irrigation project in the South West that is led by Perth business executive Peter Fogarty and will cost an estimated $380 million.

The project is designed to tackle the high salinity in Wellington Dam and supply extra water for farmers in the Myalup and Collie irrigation districts.

The funding has been supplied to Collie Water, a special purpose company jointly owned by Aqua Ferre and farmers’ cooperative Harvey Water.

Aqua Ferre is a specialist water company established by Mr Fogarty’s Pendulum Capital and South West seed supplier Ken Blakers’ company Regal Grange.

Mr Fogarty welcomed the funding commitment, announced yesterday at Wellington Dam.

“Our group and Harvey Water have worked tirelessly for several years planning this project and gaining support from our key stakeholders,” he said.

“The state government’s support was fundamental to the project and will hopefully lead to the Commonwealth government providing support via its National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.”

Mr Fogarty said he hoped to be able to start the project in 2017.

The project involves the diversion of highly saline water from the Collie River East Branch and treating that water with coal mine dewatering water via a water treatment and desalination plant to be constructed in Collie.

The aim is to lower salinity in the Wellington Dam and utilise that water in the Collie River Irrigation District and pipe it across to Myalup.

It also entails a new weir at Burekup and a gravity-fed pipeline system to replace open irrigation channels in the Collie irrigation district.

Harvey Water general manager Geoff Calder also welcomed the announcement.

Harvey Water represents the Collie River Irrigation District farmers and has been working for many years to find a solution to the increasing salinity in the Wellington Dam,” he said.

“Our cooperation with Aqua Ferre has enabled us to build an economically viable project that had not been previously possible.”

Making the announcement yesterday, premier Colin Barnett said Wellington Dam was the biggest surface water storage in the South-West - and the second biggest in the State, after the Ord, but rising salinity levels meant the water was mostly unusable, limiting agricultural growth in the region.

Water Minister Mia Davies said the Collie Water solution was selected following an expression of interest process conducted in late 2015.

It was again selected in June 2016 to coordinate a full feasibility study, funded by $1 million from the federal government.

"The estimated cost of the Collie Water proposal is $380 million and will require funding from the private sector and the Commonwealth Government," she said.

In an in-depth interview with Business News last June, Mr Fogarty said the biggest pay-off from the project would come from new, intensive agricultural opportunities.

 

 

 

 

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