Onsite at the MAR study at Nambeelup

Onsite at the MAR study at Nambeelup…with L-R Andy Ellett, Minister MacTiernan, Robyn Clarke, Andrew Hastie, Cr Maree Reid, Minister Kelly and Andrew Ward

26 September 2017…

As well as being the first ground broken in the Transform Peel site at Nambeelup, the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) study is a significant milestone on many levels.

Andrew Ward, chief executive officer of the Peel Development Commission, said a successful MAR scheme would form part of the long-term plan for managing the water demands for Transform Peel’s innovative Peel Food Zone and adjacent Peel Business Park.

“Transform Peel is underway on many levels, and this MAR study is the first physical evidence of the innovation we are applying to the program. A MAR scheme could provide an opportunity to capture nutrient enriched groundwater and treat it prior to storing it in the deep aquifer (so it is not leaching into the estuary) then recover the water when required.”

“Lowering the water table here has the potential to also lower the cost of land fill required for the Peel Business Park,” said Andrew Ward.

The Managed Aquifer Recharge study is supported by funding from the Australian Government – National Water Infrastructure Development Fund, an initiative of the northern Australia and Agricultural Competiveness white papers.

The aim of the study is to determine the feasibility of MAR to support the Peel Integrated Water Initiative which will irrigate the Peel Food Zone and secure food production for domestic and export needs.

“Transform Peel is grateful for the Commonwealth funding of the MAR study ($702,000) and in-kind contributions from Shire of Murray and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation which are additional to the State’s funding for the Transform Peel program through Royalties for Regions,” said Andrew Ward.

Potential benefits of managed aquifer recharge include:

  • additional water supplies from sources that may otherwise be wasted
  • diverting nutrients that may otherwise flow into the Peel estuary
  • reduced costs associated with water storage dams or tanks
  • reduced risk of contamination of stored water
  • storage of excess water to meet increased demand
  • potentially lowering the cost of land fill required

Expressions of Interest are open for the Peel Business Park, which will build capacity for local investment and jobs in the Peel at https://www.landcorp.com.au/Industrial-and-Commercial/Peel-Business-Park/

More on the MAR Study

Managed aquifer recharge is the use of the natural aquifer system to store water for future demand. Water collected over wet winter months is pumped into the deep aquifer system, in this case approximately 220m below the surface. This water is then available to be accessed in summer when there is less accessible water.

Managed aquifer recharge is one option being investigated to address the challenges associated with declining rainfall in the south west and climate change. Innovative approaches like this will be necessary to provide water security for the Peel Food Zone, which will provide food for domestic and international markets for the next 50 years and beyond. Scientists at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will use the knowledge gained from this study, together with similar studies around Western Australia, to implement innovative solutions addressing the conflict between growing demands and declining resources across the state. Information gathered through this study will be used to inform future decisions regarding the regions need for future water resources and protection of the fragile ecosystem. This MAR study will be completed in April 2018.

More on Transform Peel www.transformpeel.com

Transform Peel is an integrated approach to building regional resilience which is changing Peel’s future. It comprises a 42,000 ha Peel Food Zone, a 1,000 ha Peel Business Park, and the Peel Integrated Water Initiative to meet the future needs of Food Zone and the growing population.

It is a 35-year vision with a focus on innovation that will transform the economy of Peel. The benefits to the region include an estimated annual economic output of $16 billion by 2050. Stage One of the program has been enabled via the Western Australian Government’s commitment of $49.3 million from Royalties for Regions. Transform Peel is devised, developed and delivered by the Peel Development Commission, a division of the Western Australian Government.

Media Contact:        Andrew Ward, Chief Executive Officer, Peel Development Commission, andrew.ward@peel.gov.wa.au , (08) 9535 4140