McLaren Vale grape growers have a bunch of reasons to celebrate completion of a $7.3 million water infrastructure projectat Seaford Heights which will have huge flow-on benefits for the region.
The 600-megalitre water storage facility, which will be filled over the next three months, will supply recycled wastewater to support increased grape production in McLaren Vale, while also improving the industry's sustainability and creating jobs for the region.
Launching the completed project, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the facility would support increased grape and wine production for the world-famous winemaking area.
"This project is expected to allow for an additional $6.5 million in grape production each year from McLaren Vale and this will lead to an estimated annual $33 million increase in wine production, which is a fantastic return on investment and great news for growers and winemakers in the region," Mr McCormack said.
"The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is committed to delivering secure and affordable water for producers right across rural and regional Australia.
"This facility was co-funded under our $3.5 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund which is helping to identify and build the dams, weirs and pipelines which will help to ensure water security into the future and create jobs and opportunities in the regions."
South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the project would secure water supply for one of South Australia's most important industries.
"South Australia's wine industry is a critical part of our State's economy and bringing this facility online will secure water supplies for a high-demand area and is vitally important for our state's water security overall," Mr Whetstone said.
"The projected increase in grape and wine production will create 48 full-time on-farm jobs and 120 winery jobs for the McLaren Vale region, which will also have positive flow-on effects for the $2.15 billion South Australian sector as a whole.
"This project is a great example of what State and Federal Governments can achieve together with the private sector to deliver positive economic and environmental outcomes for local communities."
Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said the project's completion was massive news for McLaren Vale, which is one of Australia's iconic wine regions.
"This water storage project will help to secure the region's viability and sustainability for years to come," Senator Ruston said.
"The Federal Government is investing in water infrastructure across regional South Australia because our agricultural industries need it and our communities will benefit from it."
The McLaren Vale Community Sustainability Company, a not-for-profit community group formed by the McLaren Vale Irrigators Council, partnered with the Willunga Basin Water Company to deliver the project.
Chair of the McLaren Vale Irrigators Council and director of the McLaren Vale Community Sustainability Company Jock Harvey said completion of the project would help to secure the future of horticulture in the McLaren Vale region.
"Not only is this additional water supply project safeguarding our horticulture industry by supporting increased production, it's also improving the long term sustainability of production.
"This project demonstrates the tangible benefits of State and Federal Government co-operation, as well as collaboration between the Government agencies and private and community sectors working as one to solve a substantial environmental issue for the benefit of the agricultural and the wider McLaren Vale communities."
Willunga Basin Water Company General Manager Craig Heidenreich said construction was completed in under six months with co-operation from the local community.
"We've already had interest from local irrigators for almost the full 600 megalitres, highlighting the importance of this project for the region.
"The final step of this project is the planting of more than 15,000 native plants that will provide a natural screen for the facility, and enhance the entrance to the McLaren Vale region along Victor Harbor Road."
The new water storage facility at Seaford Heights will redirect recycled waste water from the Christies Beach Waste Water Treatment Plant to irrigators in McLaren Vale for use in wine grape production. The facility is expected to be operational by the end of June. For more information on the Australian Government's investment in planning and funding the next generation of water infrastructure, visit www.nationalwatergrid.gov.au.