CONSTRUCTION of a 600-megalitre water storage facility has been completed at Seaford Heights and will be filled over the next three months, with its supply of recycled wastewater to support increased grape production in McLaren Vale.
Launching the completed project, federal Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister 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 $33m increase in wine production, which is a fantastic return on investment and great news for growers and winemakers in the region," he said.
"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."
SA Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said the project would secure water supply for one of the state's most important industries.
"SA'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," he 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 $2.15b SA sector as a whole.
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.
McLaren Vale Irrigators Council chair and McLaren Vale Community Sustainability Company director 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," he said.
Willunga Basin Water Company general manager Craig Heidenreich said construction was completed in less than 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," he said.
"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.
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