MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire Council wants the state and federal governments to underwrite an infrastructure program to drought proof the shire and lift its firefighting capabilities.
This follows calls for a “resilient” water supply made at the June Green Wedge Summit at Main Ridge.
The shire and South East Water agreed to jointly investigate “the potential for sustainable water projects”, including rain water, urban run-off and artesian water and the 350 million litres of treated water pumped daily into the sea at Gunnamatta (“Water ‘saviour’ of green wedge” The News 2/7/18).
Pipes from Melbourne Water’s Eastern Treatment Plant carrying the recycled water pass Arthurs Seat in Collins Road, Dromana.
The shire wants governments to “take a bipartisan approach to bringing forward plans and announcing a policy for funding the introduction of a major water recycling program for the Mornington Peninsula”. The mayor Cr Bryan Payne said a recycled water plan needed to “not only focus on water security for agricultural production but also for firefighting, particularly in the ridge areas of the peninsula where there are thousands of residents, farms and visitors to tourism facilities in summer”.
He said the plan would involve pumping Class A recycled water to Arthurs Seat, the highest point on the peninsula, and then gravity feeding it all over the shire through a network of pipes. Fire hydrants at strategic junctions would allow roadside quick-fill points for CFA trucks during a major fire “instead of isolated tanks which may not be accessible during an emergency”.
Cr Payne said drought conditions had impacted rural communities and “should be a major signpost for governments at all levels to maximise opportunities to provide recycled water for current and future generations”.
“The reality is the Victorian government should have had this scheme factored into their firefighting strategy,” he said.
The shire could also consider involving part of its 230 hectare property, The Briars, Mt Martha, to demonstrate crop development, promoting the recycled water scheme and for education programs.
“The development of a recycled water pipeline and system for the peninsula is vital to provide water security to the wide variety of agricultural activities, including wineries, beef production, and agricultural based tourism, as well as firefighting,” Cr Payne said.
“All of these activities are key employment and sustainable employment generators.”
Nepean Liberal candidate Russel Joseph said the water would be pumped to steel tanks and existing large dams that would be topped up all year.
“We would not have to rely on rainfall to fill the dams which would free us from the effects of drought and climate change,” he said.
“By using the recycled water we could restore environmental flows to creeks and streams.
“Firefighting helicopters could simply lower their booms into large dams to fill their tanks and then be away more quickly.”