Round 2 of grants for Cummins Wanilla Basin drainage

News article |

A second round of grants has opened today for infrastructure drainage works within the Cummins Wanilla Basin.

18 August 2021

Landholders within the basin area can apply for a grant of between $2000 and $30,000 for works that upgrade or maintain existing drainage, with works to be completed by June 2022.

A total of $250,000 in funding was secured earlier in the year by the Cummins Wanilla Basin Streamcare Group for these priority infrastructure works with the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board administering the funding from the South Australian Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board has worked with the streamcare group to establish a basin management plan which this funding will help to achieve.

Landscape Operations Manager with the EP Landscape Board Seb Drewer, says significant rainfall over the past month has highlighted where there are issues that need coordinated on-ground works.

“It’s important that the management plan can be put into action with on-ground works to improve the hydrology of the catchment and assist improvement of agricultural production as well as the connected ecosystem,” says Mr Drewer.

“Up to 85,000 hectares of Eyre Peninsula farming land is increasingly being affected by poor drainage in the Cummins Wanilla Basin.”

The management plan recommends on-ground work priorities should be upgrading and clearing drainage channels; watercourse crossings; and replacement of drainage pipes beneath roads.

Streamcare group chairman Trevor Carter encourages the 20-plus landholders within the basin to take up this opportunity to improve their land.

“I really encourage all impacted landholders in the basin to take a look at this and put forward an application to help safeguard their agriculture land from salinity and water-logging,” Mr Carter says.

“This is a great opportunity for us to get on top of this threat to our farming land.

“We’ve been working towards this and now is the time for us to put plans into action.

“The land is looking pretty wet at the moment and is really showing us where the problems are the worst.

“The important part for now is for landholders to get their application in by late September and then they can get onto the works once it’s drier and harvest is finished.”

The landholders need to commit at least a 50% matching contribution which can include their labour and use of machinery costs.

The basin contains a vast network of surface water and groundwater drainage channel systems that have been developed over many decades to support agricultural production and address issues such as dryland salinity, waterlogging, erosion and sedimentation.

The drainage channel systems are not only pivotal to agriculture production; they support a significant amount of habitat and biodiversity, connecting up to wetlands and other water dependent ecosystems including Coffin Bay which supports the aquaculture and fishing.

Project proposals for grants of $2000 to $30,000 must be submitted by 5pm on Friday, September 24, 2021 for project completion by June 2022.

For more information, see the Board’s website to download the grant guidelines and application form

Landholders can also call the Board’s Water Resources Officer, Dave Cunningham, on 0428 815 487 for further information.

The drainage management plan was completed late last year, thanks to funding from the EP Landscape Board, the District Council of Lower Eyre Peninsula and Agricultural Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula.

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