Words & Images – Robyn French, Harvey Water

Harvey Water was formed in 1996 as the licensed operators of the South West Irrigation System, supplying water services to irrigators in the Waroona, Harvey and Collie River Irrigation Districts.

Since then, Harvey Water has grown to be an important part of the Peel and South West economies, providing a unique gravity-fed irrigation service to 720 irrigators across the irrigated area, as well as providing water to mineral extraction and processing industries, food processors, local parks and gardens, sporting clubs, hobby farmers and for fire fighting.

The Cooperative strives for an industry leadership approach to water use efficiency, innovative piping projects and ongoing asset development. This has allowed Harvey Water to optimise water delivery services that facilitate growth in the agricultural sector, and to diversify its customer base to over 1,000 agricultural, industry and community customers. With a capacity to provide large volumes of non-potable water, Harvey Water has secured contracts to service some of the South West’s largest industrial and mining operations.

Harvey Water is licensed to draw 137 gigalitres of non-potable water annually, through a licensing agreement with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, from five dams — Waroona, Drakesbrook, Logue Brook, Harvey and Wellington. Water is delivered via a channel and pipe network in the Waroona, Harvey and Collie River irrigation areas.

The majority of water is used to irrigate beef and dairy pasture, with other significant uses being fodder crops, citrus orchards, horticulture and grapes.

Other uses, totalling only 4% of licenced allocation, included mineral processing, construction, hobby farming, fire fighting and sporting facilities.

The Cooperative recently opened new administration and customer service premises in the Harvey Light Industrial Area. The building is named ‘Eckersley House’ after Walter Roland (Roy) Eckersley, who was the Public Works Department surveyor responsible for surveying suitable dam sites on rivers between Serpentine and Collie from 1911. Roy identified the locations of the Wellington Dam, Harvey Weir, Stirling Dam and Logue Brook Dam and surveyed the course of the irrigation channels for the original Harvey Irrigation Scheme.

This article was first published in the Peel Magazine, Spring/Summer – vol 5.2 – to read and download the full magazine, click here.