Local sporting facilities play a key role in small country communities and towns such as Berriwillock. Communities such as these are under increasing financial pressure to provide sporting facilities, most of which are provided on a volunteer basis, due to water restrictions. This project has investigated an alternative source of water for the Berriwillock community, to enable home football games to be played during periods of water restrictions by allowing the watering of our football ground adequately.
A $15,000 project was undertaken to collect runoff storm water from the Graincorp Berriwillock silo site that then drains to a collection dam. The surplus Class B water used to be directed into a waste drainage channel and was not being utilized.
This project connected 1.8 km of two inch rural poly pipe to the existing drainage pump and directed this surplus drainage water to a large deep holding dam situated at the Berriwillock Golf club. A solar powered pump capable of pumping 10,000 Litres per day at this dam then pumps this water to an existing water tank so it can be utilized at the Berriwillock Bowling Club and at the Berriwillock Recreation Reserve (sporting ground) so that it can be maintained in a state required for playing football, with adequate grass cover and softness underfoot.
A full evaluation report of the project was provided including a suggestion that this sort of project could be worthwhile at other rural based sporting groups.
This project has been completed and it is estimated to supply 3.0 – 3.5 Megalitres of water annually. This project will meet the 2.1 Megalitre supply requirements of water to the sporting facilities in Berriwillock and possibly allow for some expansion of water use at the football ground. The economic benefits of this project are the use of collected runoff water offsetting the running cost of community resources. It is estimated that we will be able to utilise 3.0 – 3.5 Megalitres of water that has a cost of $2,800.
The social benefits are numerous, but mainly allowing the continuation of two key community resources, namely the Berriwillock Bowling Club and the Berriwillock Recreation Reserve which allows football to be played in the local community. Both of these sporting icons are key fixtures to the township and current water restrictions make the maintenance of a safe playing surface for football near impossible in the current climate. There may also be a possibility of increasing the number of football games played in Berriwillock each season as other clubs are unable to maintain their grounds.
An additional environmental benefit is the maintenance of an open water source for native birdlife utilisation, which had become a serious environmental concern with the Wimmera Mallee pipeline resulting in farm dams no longer meeting this need. It also allows the 3.5 Megalitres of water saved to be returned to the Murray River system, which could be allocated to environmental flows.