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Water in Mining 2006

Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

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The Collie River Diversion and Salinity Recovery Project - A Case Study in Competing Values in a Competing Environment

The Collie River catchment, located approximately 200 km south of Perth, covers an area of around 2830 km2 and is the source of run-off to the Wellington Dam, an important irrigation water resource for the Collie Irrigation District._x000D_
The salinity of the Wellington Dam has increased due to historical clearing and irrigators currently use water with salinity levels approximately twice that of the Murray River in South Australia (Water and Rivers Commission, 2001)._x000D_
The Collie River Salinity Situation Statement (2001), released by the Water and Rivers Commission (now the Department of Water), identified realistic actions that could achieve the salinity reduction target._x000D_
Subsequent benefit-cost analyses and prefeasibility studies recommended the diversion of the most saline flows in the Collie River away from the dam as an immediate intervention (URS, 2003)._x000D_
The East Branch of the Collie River above the locality of Buckingham (20 km east of Collie) contributes around half of the salt that flows into the Wellington Dam and the diversion and storage of the saltiest flows from the East Branch at Buckingham was identified as a viable option for reducing salinity in Wellington Dam._x000D_
The proposal had one problem - the water could not be disposed of as quickly as it was diverted. However, in the vicinity of the diversion site were a number of coal mine voids and after preliminary discussions, the Government/Griffin Coal alliance was formed and from this the opportunities have continued._x000D_
Diverted water would be stored temporarily in an adjacent mine void (Chicken Creek 4 void) and then disposed of to the sea. The disposal options included Western Power Corporation's saline discharge pipeline from Collie Power Station, or a new pipeline._x000D_
The diverted water was also identified as a potential raw source for treatment and use in industry. This has opened up opportunities including desalination, water efficiencies in the power stations, increased reliability of water supply for the power stations, water for new industries, wastewater disposal options and extra water for Perth's water supply._x000D_
In the process of solving the water storage problems the project introduced a range of mine water quality problems - heavy metals and pH - and the Department of Water (DoW) is now working with the mining industry and the Centre for Sustainable Mine Lakes (CSML) to develop treatment and management technologies._x000D_
The project has received support and funding through the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) and it has been possible to accelerate and enhance this project as a result of NAP._x000D_
The DoW has developed the proposal to an advanced stage and gained approvals for the capital diversion program to go ahead. The partnerships have expanded to include the second mining company, Premier Coal, the Water Corporation, Western Power and the Harvey Irrigation Cooperative. The proposal could feasibly result in a $90 million integrated water management initiative for Collie using the latest technology, mining operations and providing water for value adding industries in the local area._x000D_
The DoW is not a mining company; however, our experience in managing water in times of shortage, environmental water quality criteria, competition for water and managing community expectations will have the same success factors: consultation and knowing your community and stakeholders, sharing issues and working in partnership can provide results far greater than the initial issue, even brackish water has value, every sector is in competition with each other and has to have a share of the water, an integrated approach can provide opportunities for development in areas of water shortage, and never think of water as wastewater._x000D_
FORMAL CITATION:Tingey, W and Sparks, T, 2006. The Collie River diversion and salinity recovery project - a case study in competing values in a competing environment, in Proceedings Water in Mining 2006, pp 205-208 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2005
  • PDF Size: 1.346 Mb.
  • Unique ID: P200610028

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