Recycled water study kicks off to support local irrigators

 

8 July 2019

Irrigators in Tyabb and Somerville could soon reap the benefits of recycled water to sustain their farms, if a new feasibility study to supply the area with Class A recycled water proves viable.

The study is being run by South East Water, Mornington Peninsula Shire and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), in response to dams running dry on local Mornington Peninsula farms – resulting in reduced food production and workers being laid off.

“We know that changing weather patterns are affecting local food producers, so we’re working with our partners to support them with a solution that doesn’t just rely on rainwater – and recycled water could be it,” said South East Water’s General Manager Liveable Water Solutions Charlie Littlefair.

“This feasibility study will assess demand and appetite for recycled water from business customers across Tyabb and Somerville whose ventures rely on high volumes of water.”

The project was identified as a high priority in the Westernport Integrated Water Management Forum. There are 15 such forums established across metropolitan and regional Victoria, which bring together local authorities, catchment authorities, Traditional Owner land councils, water corporations, the Victorian Planning Authority and DELWP, to help determine more sustainable and productive uses of water to drive economic development and help meet the challenges of drought and climate change.

“With this study, we want to find the best way to help our local business customers grow more food, help employment and support our local region. When it comes to food production, every drop of water counts,” says Mr Littlefair.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor, Cr David Gill, agrees.

“We are already seeing the effects of our changing climate as the rainfall patterns change and at the same time we have growing demands and population growth in South East Victoria. We are using water faster than we can replace it. The peninsula is fortunate to have a high-class recycled water supply, readily available to our region. This water is presently funnelled into the sea.”

“This study is about working in partnership to create a long-term solution that supports local businesses and our local economy – and in this case also supports the Peninsula’s reputation for fantastic, local produce,” said Cr Gill. “We look forward to engaging with a broad range of businesses over the coming months as we assess supplying recycled water to them.”

Up to 50 business customers across Tyabb and Somerville will be engaged by the consultants who are undertaking the feasibility study on behalf of the project partners. If you’d like to have a say, and want to be approached, your voice is welcome. Email recycledplan@sew.com.au or phone 9552 3147.