Sea water top up for Harris River Dam

Harris River Dam. Photo: Shannon Wood.
Harris River Dam. Photo: Shannon Wood.

Harris River Dam, which supplies Collie and 40 other towns between here and Lake Grace, is currently at 21 per cent capacity, which is about 5 per cent lower than at the same time last year. 

Low water levels have resulted in the dam being supplemented with desalinated water being pumped in from the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant at Binningup. 

Water Corporation South West Regional Manager, John Janssen said the dam was currently holding 15 billion litres of water as we head into winter, which was roughly twice the annual use of the Great Southern Towns Supply Scheme.

“Water Corporation has plans in place to secure water supplies in our drying climate, releasing the Water Forever: South West 50-year plan in July 2015.

The report outlines plans to develop new water sources, reduce water use and increase water recycling to achieve water security in our drying climate,” he said. 

Mr Janssen said all water supplied by Water Corporation, including desalinated seawater, met Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

The construction of an eight kilometre pipeline and pump station which runs from Stirling Dam to Harris Dam is currently underway and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017. 

The pipeline will allow water from the Integrated Water Supply Scheme (IWSS), which supplies Perth, to supply the Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme.

Mr Janssen said Harris Dam continued to be impacted by the persistent drying climate and the new pipeline would provide a more secure source of water for our customers connected to the Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme, including Collie.

According to Mr Janssen, it is important to have a water source that is independent of climate factors. “In 2016-17 desalinated seawater contributed to 47 per cent of the water supply for the IWSS. Drinking water dams provided just 7 per cent of supply, which illustrates the importance of climate independent sources, such as desalination,” he said. 

Mr Janssen said the dam services a mix of households and commercial. “A range of commercial customers rely on the water, including Worsley, but only during exceptionally dry periods,” he said. 

Customers who are concerned about their drinking water quality are encouraged to call the Water Corporation 24/7 on 13 13 75.