Infrastructure is the answer

Industry experts and panelists at the Barossa Community Water Forum included Dr Michael McCarthy, irrigation, SARDI; Mr Simon Schutz, general manager, BIL; Ms Anne Moroney, CEO, Barossa Regional Development Association; Mr Joe Keynes, Livestock SA; Mrs Jane Evans, forum co-ordinator and initiator and Mr James March, CEO Barossa Grape and Wine Association.

Around 150 people attended Monday’s Barossa Community Water Forum held at Lambert Estate, Angaston.

Forum co-ordinator and initiator, Mrs Jane Evans, of Eden Valley hailed the event a success, saying it provided a platform for community to interact with industry experts and representatives from all levels of government.

“Knowledge always gives people the power to make an informed decision and that was what the day was all about, increasing our knowledge to help financially plan for our businesses for the future,” Jane said.

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The need for water security and water sustainability for the Barossa region was acknowledged.

“Member for Schubert, Mr Stephan Knoll and Member for Barker, Mr Tony Pasin are aware at a State and Federal level and have been supportive through discussion and conversation that was canvassed about accessing water for our region to help our primary producers,” said Jane.

Whilst there was no “actionable result” as an outcome of the forum, Jane said discussions proved valuable.

“To quote Tony Pasin, infrastructure in our region is the answer,” Jane said.

“There is a lot of work being done in this area now and it was an opportunity to discuss the opportunities for future assistance.”

Attendees heard about potentially running a pipeline over from the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme, across the Valley floor and up to Eden Valley as one possible option to access water.

“Otherwise, they’ll look at running one from Mannum over to us and that’s what other private enterprises have been looking at doing as well,” Jane added.

“But there is nothing concrete to disclose yet.”

Jane said people left the forum feeling a little more positive about the future.

“It was really good to get a scientific perspective from the Department of Environment and Water about our natural river systems in the Barossa, the topography of the aquifers and the growing population, climatic and industry pressures that are escalating and growing.

“The long and short term projects on that, I think, really helped a lot of people in working out where they sit with this.

“There was great communication and interaction between the community and our leaders and that’s what I wanted to achieve.”

Material from the Barossa Community Water Forum presentations will be posted on the Barossa RDA website and Jane will now organise a follow up forum to assess progress after next year’s vintage, either in late April or early May.