Future directions - By Peter Porch Manager Operational Services Northern Areas Council

Article image - Future directions - By Peter Porch Manager Operational Services Northern Areas Council Northern Areas Council Technical Officer and Project Manager, Natasha Hall; Phil Mercer, Mercator Water; and President Jamestown Apex Club, Brett Simpson.

Water re-use project

In conjunction with the Jamestown Apex Club, Northern Areas Council, South Australia, is converting an evaporating resource into funds for the community.

By redirecting a budget allocation that was originally intended to line evaporation ponds, Council and the community are working together to implement and manage a pivot irrigation project to grow high value Lucerne crops on a parcel of land owned by Council and leased by the Apex Club at Jamestown in the mid-north of South Australia.
The Apex club members have been keen proponents of the initiative, seeing an opportunity to increase their input into the community and will manage the day-to-day operation of the irrigation system and the site.

Apex will also administer the sale of the crops and distribution of funds into local projects using a community grants system.
Design, tender, construction and commissioning of the system were managed by Council while working through the required regulatory processes with the Environmental Protection Authority and the Department of Health and Aging to obtain approvals and develop acceptable operating procedures.

The contract to design and install the irrigation system was awarded to Mercator Water Pty Ltd.

Systems will be implemented to monitor ground water levels however the conditions at the site are expected to be ideal for Lucerne which can withstand and absorb considerable amounts of water.

The project incorporates three centre pivot locations from which a single 100m pivot arm will be regularly moved to ensure an even distribution. The area under this irrigation scheme is 9.4 hectares within a 12 hectare section of land.

Through effective consultation and identification of opportunities, Council have managed community funds more effectively by diverting funds from single purpose maintenance only objectives to capture the collaboration offered by a community group to take a resource and value add to it for the benefit of the community.