SA proposes water infrastructure upgrades to boost agricultural output

Posted 7 April 2017

PipelineThe risk of a Whyalla water infrastructure wipeout could be mitigated under plans for a new pipeline scheme to serve industry in South Australia. 

The State Government has made a $3.18 million commitment to provide an affordable source of water from the Bundaleer Reservoir, which is located in a corridor of high-value agricultural production running from Two Wells to Whyalla.

State Minister for Water and the River Murray Ian Hunter said the 12km pipeline network and related water infrastructure would deliver up to 275ML of water a year to meet local agricultural demand.

“South Australia’s mid-north is a prime agricultural region, with an abundance of suitable land for further development where water is available,” he said.

The planned pipeline comes in response to ongoing community interest in using water from the Northern Reservoirs – Baroota, Beetaloo and Bundaleer – for agriculture. 

However, consultation revealed supplying water from the Baroota and Beetaloo reservoirs would not be economically viable.

“The State Government has investigated opportunities for the use of several offline reservoirs where environmentally appropriate and when supported by the local community,” Hunter said. 

“The use of water from the Bundaleer Reservoir for agricultural purposes will still allow the community to access the reservoir for recreational fishing, which is expected to be available in the next few months.”

Water will be supplied and delivered through the scheme to the farm gate, with on-farm delivery, on-farm storage, treatment and monitoring of this water the responsibility of the end user.

The State Government has applied to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (NWIDF) for matched funding, which is expected to be announced in mid-2017. 

Construction will begin by the end of the year, pending Federal Government funding.