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Recycled water to boost farming on the Bellarine

JMR with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce and Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville

The Bellarine Peninsula will get a boost to its economy through an upgrade to Barwon Water’s Portarlington Water Reclamation Plant (WRP).

The project will provide high-quality recycled water, which will unlock agricultural and horticulture production opportunities along the Bellarine Peninsula, including wineries, cellar doors, and farm-gate tourism.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Bellarine community will benefit from the project as the construction stage will create multiple job opportunities, help preserve Bellarine Peninsula’s unique landscape and liveability, and reduce reliance on drinking water for agriculture.

“The Recycled Water on the Bellarine Project is a great example of the Australian Government delivering the water infrastructure that forms the National Water Grid as part of our $3.5 billion investment to secure Australia’s water future,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“The innovative project involves installing an ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis plant to produce fit-for-purpose recycled water at a significantly lower salinity than the existing water supply. The upgrade will improve water quality while increasing the availability of recycled water to the Bellarine Peninsula.”

The investment of the Recycled Water on the Bellarine project is co-funded by the Australian Government ($5.53 million), Victorian Government ($1.97 million) and Barwon Water ($3.56 million).

Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville said the Victorian Government is delivering on commitments set out in Water for Victoria, the state water plan, now and into the future by contributing $1.97 million in funding toward the Recycled water on the Bellarine project.

“The upgrade to the recycled water plant supports the objectives of the draft Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy, which outlines ways to identify and develop a sustainable supply of water in Victoria’s regions,” Minister Neville said.

“The use of a diverse range of water sources supports Water for Victoria’s goals to ensure safe, secure and affordable water supplies into the future.

“This will create jobs and give high value agriculture, horticulture and tourism on the Bellarine a boost, at the same time as saving precious drinking water.”

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the investment in recycled water will assist Victoria to respond to the impacts of climate change – including temperature increases, lower average rainfall, and more frequent and severe droughts – and will provide local businesses with the confidence to operate at full or expanded capacity.

“These opportunities, as well as the role stormwater management can play in liveability, are central to the state’s Integrated Water Management Program,” Senator Henderson said.

“Barwon Water plans to supply 450 megalitres of low salinity, fit-for-purpose recycled water per year to new and existing agricultural and horticultural customers, nearly doubling the amount of recycled water used on the Bellarine.

“The upgrade will save more drinking water for Barwon Water customers and allow the Portarlington Plant to reuse 100 per cent of recycled water produced for agricultural purposes.”

Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter said we welcome the significant funding from the Australian and Victorian governments for this important project, which will give our Bellarine business customers the confidence to grow their businesses into the future and save more drinking water for Barwon Water customers.

“The wider use of recycled water will support increased agriculture, horticulture and tourism, economic growth and regional prosperity for the Bellarine,” Ms Slatter said.

“The Recycled Water on the Bellarine project is helping Barwon Water achieve its Strategy 2030 aim to recycle 100 per cent of the wastewater treated at our water reclamation plants.”

Wednesday 10 November 2021

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