WORK has started on an $850,000 agricultural drainage project that will improve the health of the Peel-Harvey Estuary with flow-on benefits tipped for local farmers.
The two year Better Collaborative Drainage Management project is working with landholders to build weirs and similar structures in agricultural drains to better manage water flows and promote nutrient uptake by soils and plants.
The project is led by Peel Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) with funding from the State Government’s Regional Estuaries initiative that aims to improve the health of rivers and estuaries including the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar wetland.
The retro-fitting of small weirs in agricultural drains to improve downstream water quality follows a worldwide trend with the approach already common in places like Canada, New Zealand and the US.
By working with landowners, and with the support of the Water Corporation, PHCC hopes to demonstrate the weirs can also help improve local farm productivity by retaining soil moisture into early summer and keeping paddocks greener for longer.