Thursday 12 December 2019

McLaren Vale wine region scores $7.3 million water storage project

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The McLaren Vale wine industry is set for a $33 million boost in productivity and the creation of more than 150 jobs as a result of a $7.3 million water storage project which is about to commence.

The project includes the construction of a 600 megalitre water storage facility at Seaford Heights which will redirect recycled wastewater from the Christies Beach Waste Water treatment plant to McLaren Vale irrigators to use in the production of winegrapes.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack today announced the McLaren Vale Community Sustainability Company would develop the project, part of which has been funded under the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

“The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government recognises the huge potential this project will have on McLaren Vale, one of Australia’s iconic wine regions, which is why we are contributing $2.5 million,” Mr McCormack said.

“This project is anticipated to result in an additional $5.5 million in grape production for McLaren Vale annually, leading to an estimated $33 million yearly increase in wine production, 48 full-time on-farm jobs and 120 winery jobs.”

South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the project to redirect recycled water for the betterment of the wine grape industry was significant.

“This project will have enormous benefit for not only the McLaren Vale wine region but also the $2.15 billion South Australian sector as a whole, creating on-farm and winery jobs,” Minister Whetstone said.

“Food, wine and agribusiness are key pillars of the Marshall Liberal Government’s nine priority sectors identified for rapid economic growth under our Growth State plan and projects such as this will help deliver this vision.

“Construction contracts are expected to be awarded by the end of October with the overall project due to be completed and on-line by June 2020.”

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said the project would help to grow the region’s wine and tourism reputation.

“We already know the South Australian wine industry is one of the best in the world and this project will only strengthen local businesses and exporters,” Senator Ruston said.

The McLaren Vale Community Sustainability Company is a not-for-profit community group formed by the McLaren Vale Irrigators Council. It has partnered with the Willunga Basin Water Company to deliver the project.

The Willunga Basin Water Company is also contributing $4.8 million to the project.

Chair of the McLaren Vale Irrigators Council and director of the McLaren Vale Community Sustainability Company Jock Harvey said this project would contribute to the additional water required to secure the future of horticulture in McLaren Vale.

“This storage dam takes us closer to our ultimate goal of zero outflow to the Gulf St Vincent, which will both improve the marine environment and increase the opportunities for horticulture,” Mr Harvey said.

“Value adding our horticultural produce creates employment and protects valuable farming land from greenfield housing development.”

Willunga Basin Water Company’s Craig Heidenreich said the project is a win-win for the local producers and the environment.

“Recycled waste water no longer ends up in the ocean damaging marine life but helps ease the pressure on the local groundwater system,” Mr Heidenreich said.

“Irrigators across the region can continue to grow with the confidence that water resources across the region are more secure.

“This project further establishes McLaren Vale’s credentials as one of Australia’s most sustainable wine growing regions.”

Photo: Duy Huynh – DUYDASH (McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association).

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