Pyramid Creek Salt Interception Scheme - Murray

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Pyramid Creek Salt
Interception Scheme
A Joint Works project under the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council’s Basin Salinity Management Strategy 20012015. The scheme will prevent 22,000 tonnes of salt from entering Pyramid Creek annually and thus reduce the salinity
of the Kerang Lakes and the River Murray. This is the first scheme designed to incorporate Salt Harvesting, which will
result in a sustainable system.
PYRAMID CREEK – IN CONTEXT
Pyramid Creek is an approximately 60 Km long enlarged natural stream in Northern Victoria between Kow Swamp and
the Kerang Weir.
This Creek is used as a major irrigation water carrier to the Kerang and Swan Hill irrigation areas and carries over 1,000
Ml/day.
In 1968–69 the creek was remodelled and deepened for more efficient delivery of irrigation flows. This work resulted in
highly saline ground water being discharged into the Creek. Approximately 50,000 tonnes of salt enters Pyramid Creek
each year with about 50% entering the Creek in the first 12.5 Km downstream of Kow Swamp.
PROJECT HISTORY
The salinity problem being caused by Pyramid Creek was identified by the Kerang Lakes Area Working Group in the
later 1980’s.
Following extensive investigations by the Victorian Authorities, a project proposal was presented to the
Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council in 2001.
PYRAMID CREEK – THE SCHEME
The $12.8 m Salt Interception Scheme on the upper reaches of Pyramid Creek (first 12 Km downstream of Kow Swamp)
will lower the groundwater table adjacent to the Creek preventing around 22,000 tonnes of salt from entering the Creek
each year. This will result in reduced salinity of downstream waterways including the Loddon River, the Ramsar listed
Kerang Lakes and the River Murray.
SCHEME OPERATION
Goulburn-Murray Water operates and maintains the
interception scheme
Pyramid Salt Pty Ltd operates and maintains a harvesting facility
Goulburn-Murray Water monitors and manages the impact of the interception scheme
Goulburn-Murray Water monitors the impact and performance of the salt harvesting pondage
INTERCEPTION WORKS
The salt interception works comprises 113 production bores along a 12 Km stretch of Pyramid Creek, each of which is
equipped with an electrical submersible pump.
An extensive network of monitoring bores is used to monitor the performance of the production bores and the salt
harvesting pondage.
A 3 Km transfer pipeline is used to deliver saline groundwater from the production bores to the salt harvesting ponds.
Groundwater salinity along this section of Pyramid Creek is around 44,000 EC Units (an EC unit is a measure of salinity
concentration with seawater
around 50,000 EC Units).
SALT HARVESTING OPERATION
The salt harvesting operation consists of 240 Ha of ponds located on a 400 Ha site. All ponds are lined with polyethylene
to minimise leakage for the ponds back to the groundwater. There is a buffer zone around the perimeter of these ponds
that have been revegetated.
Pyramid Salt Pty Ltd is expecting to harvest upwards of 36,000 tonnes of salt annually from this site that will be used in
the production of a range of salt products that include premium and specialty table salt products, swimming pool salt, and
other industrial salt products.
THE BASIN SALINITY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY 2001–2015
The Basin Salinity Management Strategy 2001–2015 is the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council’s response to the
threats of salinity to water quality, environmental values, regional infrastructure and productive agricultural land. The
strategy sets out how Basin Communities and Governments will work together to control salinity and protect important
assets and environmental values.
A key element of the Basin Salinity Management Strategy was the implementation of a joint works program to offset a predicted 61EC
future increase in average salinity at Morgan. Since the Strategy came into effect, the partner governments of New South Wales,
Victoria, South Australia and the Australian government have, initially through the Murray-Darling Basin Commission and more
recently the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, invested in the construction, operation and maintenance of Salt Interception and Drainage
Disposal Schemes to meet the salinity targets of the BSMS, therefore protecting the River Murray from the impact of
rising salinity.
SALT AS A RESOURCE
Although Salt as a Resource opportunities are limited, it has been recognised by the Partner Governments of the
Murray-Darling Basin Authority that to ensure sustainability of operation of salt interception commercial use of saline
water may be appropriate. This could include saltland agronomy, timber production and salt harvesting and processing.
Other uses of saline water include saline aquaculture and energy production.
Further Information
Murray-Darling Basin Authority
Telephone (02) 6279 0100
International + 61 2 6279 0100
Postal Address GPO Box 1801,
Canberra ACT 2601
For more information on Salinity or Salt Interception Schemes, visit the Murray-Darling Basin Authority website:
www.mdba.gov.au
Goulburn-Murray Water Telephone: (03) 5451 0111
Pyramid Salt Pty Ltd
Telephone: (03) 5455 1299
Fax: (03) 5455 1330
Email: [email protected]
Funded by the Victorian, South Australian, New South Wales and Australian Governments through the Murray-Darling
Basin Authority.
Salt harvested by:
Managed by:
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