The Liberal Party has promised to open Wellington Dam in the State’s South West to recreational activities as it intensifies its campaign in the marginal seat of Collie-Preston.
Tourism Minister Kim Hames said a re-elected Liberal government would allow water skiing and boats on the dam and would re-stock it with fish such as brown and rainbow trout or black bream.
They would also de-proclaim the 185-gigalitre dam as a drinking water source to reserve it for agriculture and industry.
Harvey Water general manager Geoff Calder supported moves to provide security for farmers who draw water from the dam but said more needed to be done to address its high levels of salinity.
“If they are going to keep it for irrigated agriculture that’s terrific but they must accept that what they need to be doing is reducing the salinity, ” Mr Calder said.
“Irrigators have had poor quality water for 50 years and there still hasn’t been any meaningful action to reduce salinity. They promised they would do something about it at the last election.”
Mr Calder said Wellington Dam water had five times more salt than water in Waroona and Harvey dams.
“This means their ability to grow crops with that water is severely limited, ” he said. “They can’t grow high-value horticultural crops and they have to put down a lot more fertiliser which means their production costs are much higher.”
Water Minister Bill Marmion said an independent review by accountants KPMG in 2010 recommended an additional cost-benefit analysis of options to reduce salinity and a South West Development Commission task force was developing a business case on it.The Liberal candidate for Collie-Preston Jaimee Motion has made several promises to splash cash in the electorate in a bid to wrest the seat from Labor’s Mick Murray, who holds it with a 3.8 per cent margin.
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