Feasibility Study Submission



September 29, 2000


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Our Ref: 61/0900069
Direct line: 9429 6554


Executive Officer
State Salinity Council
Level 15 International House, 26 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000


Attention: Mr D Crawford

Dear Sir

STATE SALINITY COUNCIL COMMUNITY SUPPORT SCHEME 2000 - PROJECT 00S015
Beacon River Catchment Salinity Management Project


We herewith submit further information on the above project as requested in your letter to John Dunne dated 12 September 2000. This information is submitted on behalf of the Mount Marshall LCDC to supplement the Preliminary Project Proposal lodged with the Avon Working Group last month. A copy of the original proposal is attached together with a revised budget schedule reflecting a feasibility study phase to prove the methodology, economics and sustainability of the proposed project.

Applicant: Mount Marshall Land Conservation District Committee
Postal Address: c/o John Dunne, PO Box 45, BEACON, WA 6472.
Contact Person: Chairman,
PO Box 45, BEACON, WA 6472
Phone 9686 1045, Fax. 9686 1005,
Email parakeelya@wn.com.au

FEASIBILITY STUDY

The area to be considered within the study shall begin at the headwaters of the Beacon River and extend to the southern boundary of the Mount Marshall Shire (and beyond, should a hydrological analysis determine that the effects of the proposed works are likely to be felt further downstream). [Limited funds precluded downstream investigations]

Initially the study shall investigate any means whereby floodwaters which accumulate in Job's Lake may be safely discharged in order that the rising groundwater problem affecting the catchment above Job's Lake may be addressed, ensuring that whichever means adopted, shall not adversely impact upon any downstream landform or waterway in the long term.

Assuming the safe discharge of the accumulated floodwaters in Job's Lake proves feasible, the study shall endeavour to determine the best methodology for the development of the Beacon River catchment salinity management project as described in the Preliminary Project Proposal attached.

The feasibility study will have regard for social, environmental and economic issues both on and off site, including assessment of the “do nothing” option and its likely impact.

A budget and implementation plan for development of the project will form part of the feasibility study should the project outcomes be deemed attainable. It is expected that the completion date for the feasibility study will be mid-2001.


METHODOLOGY

The Preliminary Project Proposal (00S015) outlined a number of activities that would be undertaken in the early stages of the project. These would logically form part of a feasibility study for the project as further described herein. It is intended that all participants already invited shall become actively involved in the feasibility study. Other stakeholders who have not yet been approached will be invited to participate in the early stages of the study.

The feasibility study would review current knowledge about the catchment and through liaison with the key agencies and stakeholders identify and document the opportunities and constraints for implementation of the project.

Recent consultation with hydrologists from Agriculture WA, CSIRO and the Water & Rivers Commission concluded that gaining additional data on the shallow groundwater level and quality was essential for a proper understanding of the groundwater systems and for appropriate planning and assessment of the scheme. A comprehensive aerial survey using remote sensing techniques will be undertaken with ground proving of selected sites to determine depths to the saline interface and to map levels of salinity hazard in the catchment.

It is proposed that a number of shallow test pits will be excavated and logged throughout the Beacon River catchment to identify current groundwater levels and quality and to provide an indication of soil types and variability. The test pits will be supplemented with a network of shallow monitoring bores from which periodic (monthly) water level readings would be obtained. A smaller number of deeper monitoring bores (to bedrock, typically 20m deep) would also be established to provide some guidance on the connectivity between the deeper and shallower groundwater aquifers and to identify the hydraulic characteristics of the aquifers.

Samples of each dominant soil type would be obtained from the test pits and bores and sent for analysis. Initial estimates of hydraulic properties based on particle size analysis would be confirmed in the field through permeameter testing during the drilling program.

Following completion of the hydrogeological field tests and drilling program a report will be prepared presenting the results of the investigations and recommending the parameters to be used for further planning and design of the project. Ongoing monitoring of the established bores will provide valuable data to determine water balances, groundwater responses to rainfall events and to management practices implemented within the catchment. The bores will also provide one means of measuring the effectiveness of management practices implemented by this project, should it proceed to implementation.

The surface water hydrology of the catchment will also be assessed. The effects of flooding from periodic design events and from the rarer flood events will be evaluated to establish planning constraints for the proposed management options. Appropriate management of stormwater runoff and flood flows will be necessary to ensure the integrity of any constructed works. The impacts of flood events on the major lakes of the catchment will be addressed. The hydrologic study will also consider the water and salt balances of the lakes and the effects of discharges to the downstream water bodies.

An initial environmental survey of the main lakes will be carried out to assess the remnant natural vegetation and fauna dependent on the lakes. The environmental assessment will attempt to identify the risks to preservation of remnant communities and any constraints on the management techniques to be proposed under this project.
Further development of the community consultation program will be carried out under this feasibility study. Communication with and participation of the community is of paramount importance in determining the success of the project. Periodic reports in the local newspapers will keep the community informed and invite active involvement and participation in the planning of the proposed scheme. A concept design for proposed works and potential alternatives will be prepared for comment.

A risk management workshop is proposed to be held locally involving representatives of the community and key stakeholders as well as the government and research agencies that will assist in the guidance and development of the project. The purpose of the workshop will be to identify the risks affecting the outcomes of the project, to assess the impacts of those risks and to develop a prioritized strategy for managing risk for the community’s benefit. A report will be prepared summarising the outcomes of the risk management workshop and defining the actions to be taken to monitor for and to deal with any adverse events that may arise.

Based on the outcomes of the technical, environmental, social and risk studies, the concept design for proposed works will be finalised and estimates of cost and likely benefits will be determined. A feasibility report will be prepared summarising the findings of the earlier reports and presenting the outcomes of the cost and benefits assessment.

 

Yours faithfully

I J WEAVER



Copy to:

Mohammed Bari

Water and Rivers Commission

9278 0301

Ned Crossley

Agriculture WA, Narrogin

9881 1950

Riasat Ali

CSIRO Land & Water, Shenton Park.

9333 6430

Ken Wallace

CALM, Narrogin

9881 3297

Peter Currie

Manager, Catchment Management,
Environmental Systems Division,
Dept. of Environmental Protection

9321 5184

Ken Donohoe

CEO, Shire of Mount Marshall

9685 1299

Les Solien

Wheatbelt Aboriginal Corporation

9622 5516

Chris Kirby

Secretary, Mount Marshall LCDC

9686 6057

Trish Goudie

Greening Australia, WA

9335 9203

Barbara Morrell

Chairperson, Avon Working Group

9820 4026



Attachments:
Revised Budget
Preliminary Project Proposal

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