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Final round of grants for Cummins Wanilla Basin drainage

News release
02 December 2021

The third and final round of grant funding for infrastructure drainage works within the Cummins Wanilla Basin has opened this week.

Landholders within the basin area can apply for grants of between $2000 and $30,000 for works that upgrade or maintain existing drainage, with works to be completed by May 19, 2023.

A total of $250,000 in funding was secured by the Cummins Wanilla Basin Streamcare Group for these priority infrastructure works with $215,000 still available. The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board is assisting by 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 a few projects have been completed from the previous two rounds of funding.

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

“It’s been great to see some works already happening to improve the land within the Cummins Wanilla Basin.

“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.”

Final round of grants for Cummins Wanilla Basin drainage
Works undertaken within the Cummins Wanilla Basin in the previous rounds of funding.

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 landholders need to commit a 50% matching contribution which can include their labour and machinery use 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.

Proposals for projects must be submitted by February 17, 2023 with all on-ground works needing to be completed by May 19, 2023. Funding is limited so applicants are encouraged to submit their proposals as early as possible to avoid missing out.

For more information, see the Board’s website to download the grant guidelines and application form www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep/get-involved/grants-and-funding.

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.