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An innovative recycled water project in Horsham will support agricultural research activities and provide opportunities to expand recycled water use in the municipality.

The Commonwealth Government recently announced support for a Victorian government funding application for a Horsham Agriculture SmartWater and Integrated Water Management Project as part of the National Water Grid construction program.

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The $4.9 million in funding will be matched by Agriculture Victoria and GWMWater to deliver infrastructure that will provide greater certainty to the future of the Horsham SmartFarm at Vectis and ensure GWMWater has secure options for the use of recycled water.

The scope of the project involves construction of infrastructure that will reduce the salinity and turbidity of Horsham’s recycled water; improving water quality for agricultural use and irrigation water for viticulture and green areas in Horsham that presently rely on drinking water.

GWMWater Managing Director Mark Williams said while the project was focused on providing improved access to high-quality water to the Horsham SmartFarm for research purposes, the new infrastructure would also enable more opportunities for Horsham to use recycled water in urban areas.

“In the past we have been limited by available infrastructure to provide high quality recycled water for Horsham’s green areas rather than using treated drinking water from storages,” he said. “High quality recycled water represents a sustainable alternative supply to provide additional water security to the municipality.”

Mr Williams said GWMWater had worked closely with Horsham Rural City Council to identify re-use opportunities, providing both sustainable and cheaper access to water.

“It’s possible with appropriate infrastructure that we could supplement existing water supplies for the Horsham racecourse and local sporting grounds and parks in line with relevant Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines,” he said.

“Recycled water could even be blended with storm water or a rural supply to open up opportunities for alternative water supplies for the Horsham Cemetery and school ovals, particularly during dry periods when many of those green areas tend to struggle.”

The project will also assist with management of excess treated wastewater at the Horsham Plant.

Mr Williams said the project would provide a case study for application of similar projects in other locations. The project is expected to take about two years to complete.

About the project

The Horsham Agriculture SmartWater and Integrated Water Management Project is a joint initiative of GWMWater, Agriculture Victoria and the Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning, with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Regional Partnerships Wimmera Southern Mallee and Wimmera Integrated Water Management Forum.

The Commonwealth’s National Water Grid funding will enable construction of a dissolved air floatation plant; a Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plant and a power substation to support its 24-hour electricity needs; two storage dams; an automated precision flood irrigation system and highly controllable spray irrigators for leaf/soil wetting; and new connecting pipelines, pump stations and other associated infrastructure.

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