Food producers unlikely to gain from any net water benefit

North Wanneroo growers have been hoping any net water benefit from a new desalination plant would be shared with agricultural licence holders. File picture

NORTH Wanneroo growers have been dealt a blow with the McGowan Government seeming to rule out any benefits from the proposed Alkimos desalination plant being shared with agricultural licence holders.

On June 12 in Call for food producers to be exempt from water cuts the City of Wanneroo said it would like to ensure the net water benefit from the new desalination plant was shared with agricultural licence holders and welcomed the opportunity to work with state government and the Water Corporation to achieve that outcome.

This morning after the government announced the new seawater desalination plant would be built in Alkimos, Yanchep News Online asked Water Minister Dave Kelly if the McGowan Government believed that the net water benefit from the new desalination plant should be shared with agricultural licence holders.

In response a government spokesman said the new Alkimos desalination plant would only produce water for drinking and domestic purposes.

He said in 2028, Water Corporation would take a cut of 27 per cent (the largest of any current licence holder) to the volume of groundwater it currently abstracts from the Gnangara Mound.

“A cut of 25 per cent to all licence holders was proposed during the period of the previous Liberal-National state government.

“However, with Water Corporation taking the largest cut as part of the new Gnangara water allocation plan, this has enabled the state government to minimise the reductions to all other licence holders, including those in the agricultural sector, to just 10 per cent.

“The McGowan Government continues to support research into the investigation of potential options for alternative water sources for non-potable supply.

“For example, as part of the state groundwater investigation program, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is undertaking a detailed study of groundwater in the North East corridor and Swan Valley.

“The results of the study will inform sustainable water management and the potential for managed aquifer recharge in the area.

“The McGowan Government has also initiated an Infrastructure Australia Stage 2 Assessment of Options for non-potable water security in Perth and Peel regions to 2050.

“This project follows the successful nomination of Non-potable water security in the Perth Groundwater Basin to Infrastructure Australia’s infrastructure priority list in February 2021. “Inclusion on this list provides a pathway for Western Australia to propose capital and non-capital solutions to meet water demands across the Perth Groundwater Basin as nationally significant investments.’’

This morning Water Minister Dave Kelly said the Alkimos seawater desalination plant would provide an eventual 100 billion litres of drinking water annually and also reduce reliance on precious groundwater to help protect lakes, wetlands, bushland and parks.

The desalination plant is to be built in two stages with the first stage expected to completed and operational by 2028.

Alkimos to be home of WA’s new desalination plant