Willunga Basin Water (WBW) operates a large reclaimed water scheme in South Australia that is owned and operated by Water Utilities Group Australia. A privately owned water infrastructure specialist, Water Utilities Group is based in South Australia and offers a prime example of the successful development and delivery of sustainable options in managing water resource challenges.
FROM 2014 Willunga Basin Water plans to begin expanding its network in response to the needs of irrigators across the McLaren Vale region.
Initial investigations and planning have begun, with McLaren Flat and Blewitt Springs confirmed as primary areas of focus over the next five years.
Surveys and information have been distributed across the region to determine the needs of irrigators and several information sessions have been held, thanks to the support and hospitality of John and Liz Hugo from Hugo Wines and Scott Collett from Woodstock Winery.
“We are at the very early stages of determining the issues and opportunities that irrigators across McLaren Flat and Blewitt Springs are facing,” Willunga Basin Water Strategic Growth Manager Tracie Sanim said.
“It’s been important for us to understand the water sources people have access to and how these are faring given the extreme weather conditions.
“Many irrigators across these areas are reporting a drop in the water table and an increasing level of salinity within their supplies.”
With the region growing this will become an increasing issue for irrigators.
As investigations develop, Willunga Basin Water will continue to work with irrigators across the region to determine how the network can best meet their needs into the future. In addition, Willunga Basin Water is working with SA Water and HydroPlan to maximise storage options and determine infrastructure requirements to support new growth.
The organisation also welcomes discussions with irrigators across its existing network who may also be interested in learning more about the value of reclaimed water.
Expansion of the network aims to maximise the recycling of a sustainable and reliable water source, provide greater financial and water supply security to irrigators, and further reduce the impact of discharge of wastewater to the environment. These elements support the McLaren Vale wine region’s important focus on sustainable vineyard practices.