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Yilgarn focus for drain management planning

July 18, 2007

As the community-based natural resource management organisation for the Avon River Basin, the Avon Catchment Council (ACC) is helping provide direction to the regional community and governments on dryland salinity management options through deep drainage. Thousands of kilometres of deep drainage schemes have been established throughout the Wheatbelt and the ACC is currently developing options for better planning, understanding of primary production gains and minimising off-farm impacts from drainage. The Yilgarn Integrated Salinity Management Project, funded through the State and Australian Governments National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, is part of a suite of activities managed by the ACC to improve the planning and management of saline groundwater drainage schemes. The project will demonstrate how alternative engineered schemes can vary the volume and quality of water discharged from drains and reduce impacts on downstream receiving environments. Project Advisor Robin Sanders anticipates that “The Yilgarn Integrated Salinity Management Project will provide landholders with a recommended practice for valley floor salinity management planning and produce a repeatable, user-friendly process to assist groups of deep drainage proponents.” CatchMan software, a Geographic Information System has been customized for the project to produce a set of planning tools that predict water volumes from a range of deep drainage schemes, assisting future proponents in creating detailed plans for regulation authorities. The project team has selected three sites within the Yilgarn catchment as case studies to demonstrate how alternative salinity management plans, incorporating deep drainage, can be implemented. “Surveys have recently been undertaken at Trayning, Nungarin and Warralakin to produce accurate elevation maps and engineering plans. Environmental assessment is about to commence to monitor change in catchment discharge volume and quality, ecosystem health and zones of influence resulting from deep drainage”, Project Manager Dan Ferguson said. “It is anticipated that the Yilgarn Integrated Salinity Management Project will provide landholders, planners and regulators with increased certainty about how networked deep drainage schemes affect catchment water balance in the Wheatbelt.” For further information on this project contact the ACC Yilgarn Integrated Salinity Management Project Manager Dan Ferguson on 9690 2250. Media Contact: Rochelle Pyle, Marketing and Communications Manager, 9690 2250 Sample Photograph attached - Drainage Tour 2007 (Warralakin).jpg Caption: A deep drain in the Yilgarn catchment being examined to improve how such structures are designed.