Funding flows for works to recharge water levels

News article |

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board has received funding to undertake infrastructure works to retain water in the landscape to improve aquifer recharge and protect ecological values at Hutt Bay (also known as Middle Point Swamp), near Port MacDonnell, as part of a Regional Recharge Farms project.

The Regional Recharge Farms project is being delivered by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board in partnership with Nature Glenelg Trust, SA Water and Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation.

It is part of a larger collaboration undertaking a combination of investigating opportunities, on-ground works, feasibility studies and research towards achieving water security and sustainability for the environment, industry, community and First Nations in the Lower Limestone Coast.

The partnership will allow more on-ground works to occur as part of the broader direction undertaken by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board addressing water sustainability in the region with its ‘Making Every Drop Count’ focus.

A recharge farm is a new concept developed in the project and is a site located strategically in the landscape where water can be held through infrastructure works to increase recharge back into the aquifer and potentially prevent the need to reduce primary production capacity.

The recharge farm is located strategically to rejuvenate the internationally significant wetlands of Hutt Bay in the MacDonnell management area, which is currently at high risk due to the potential for groundwater declines.

The area is home to the unique karst rising-springs where groundwater rises to the surface from the limestone beneath. The springs represent a highly threatened ecosystem of flora and fauna species in the Limestone Coast, which was recently listed as a threatened ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Primary production in the Lower Limestone Coast Prescribed Wells Area (LLC PWA) is heavily reliant on the unconfined aquifer system.

Groundwater levels have declined in some areas where demand for water exceeds recharge putting wetlands such as the karst rising-springs at risk. Finding a balance in a changing climate is key to supporting our primary industries and sustaining our ecosystems.

Limestone Coast Landscape Board chair Penny Schulz said the Board has a strategic approach to water security in a changing climate.

“The Landscape Priorities Fund and National Water Grid Authority funding has enabled a significant and innovative project focused on protecting and balancing our water resources in the region,” Ms Schulz said, adding it is a big priority for the Board.

“We are committed to water resource planning and management that addresses sustainable water use, while supporting the Limestone Coast’s environmental, industry, social and cultural needs.”

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board is working with its partners to plan the Hutt Bay infrastructure works, including backfilling of internal artificial drains and regulation of artificial drainage outlets, by the end of 2022.

The project will also trial delivery of recycled wastewater from the adjacent Finger Point Treatment Plant as a supplementary water source for Hutt Bay.

CAPTION – A portion ofNature Glenelg Trust (NGT) land that will benefit from reversal of artificial drainage and the water recycling trial from the Finger Point treatment plant. This site, known as the Hutt Bay Wetland was donated to NGT by a local farmer a number of years ago.The name Hutt Bay is synonymous with Middle Point Swamp. Picture: Mark Bachmann – Nature Glenelg Trust

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