Phone: 08 8323 7633

Our Profile

Willunga Basin Water (WBW) operates a large reclaimed water scheme in South Australia that is privately funded, owned and operated by Australian private company Water Utilities Group. 

Servicing the McLaren Vale, Willunga and Sellicks regions, the company is beginning a new era and is investigating opportunities for infrastructure development in McLaren Flat and Blewitt Springs from 2014.

Its origins were back in the mid 1990s when a groups of water users formed a joint venture and a company, then the Willunga Basin Water Company, to build Stage I of the pipeline to allow them to pursue their core business of irrigated horticulture (mostly viticulture).

The primary water source was and still is the Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant, located about 10 km north of the Willunga Basin. Its annual treated volume is around 10,000 ML, of which around 55 per cent is used by WBW.  Following in-principle support and an approach to the State Government to make use of the wastewater going out to sea at Christies Beach, engineering concepts and a budget were developed. 

The scheme, which began operating in 1999, now has 7 pump stations, 3 buffering storages, more than 120 km of pipeline and manages a further 3 major above ground storages.  From an initial contracted demand of 2.1 GL, it has expanded to over 5.45 GL to provide numerous others in the region with access to reclaimed water and has an identified demand for more than another 2 GL. 

Water is given greatest value when it is delivered with minimum fuss and maximum reliability.  

Customers who use the WBW scheme can irrigate by simply turning on their tap – there is no need for storage, power or pumps on farms. Under the water supply agreement, individual users take responsibility for the interaction of their on-farm irrigation system and their property.

All users operate a drip irrigation system.  There is no need for ‘water ordering’ on the WBW system, with users simply accessing the water supply as required. Each outlet has a flowmeter and a GPRS data logger.  Water usage is logged continuously and the data will be accessible via the company website in the near future.

WBW has led the way in the use of reclaimed water technology and now serves as a role model for other demand driven, reclaimed water schemes across Australia.  It delivers high environmental value to the community by reducing the discharge of treated effluent to the Gulf St Vincent and replaces water that would otherwise be taken from a stressed groundwater resource and the River Murray.  It underpins the economic sustainability of this premium wine region and results in over $38M p.a. of grape value, more than $100M p.a. in base wine value and an inestimable contribution to the tourism industry.

Today, with more than 140 users, the scheme has proved most reliable in providing affordable recycled water to irrigate more than 2,000 hectares of some of the best soils in the world for grape growing and other fruits.