Water springs from Hyden's fertile minds

25 Nov, 1999 12:47 AM
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HYDEN is a town that has turned itself from a small agricultural community to one that attracts thousands of tourists each year. A forward looking few, backed by a lot of community spirit, has enabled the town to progress in leaps and bounds and this drive hasn't stopped with tourism. This year, a grant was given to Hyden, Karlgarin and Kondinin to lay a pipeline for a new water supply scheme which will supply water to 43 farms and the Hyden and Karlgarin town sites. Under the grant's terms, farmers provided the labour and equipment to lay the pipeline. In a spirit typical to the area, about 80 farmers set about with great gusto to lay the PVC pipeline and, in the process, have far exceeded all expectations with the quality and speed of their work. "The target was about 62 kilometres for the first four weeks of the project and this was exceeded by about 11km. They have worked at such a pace that the pipe suppliers are struggling to keep up," Water Resources Minister Dr Kim Hames said. Kondinin to Hyden pipeline committee chairman Barry James proudly boasted that the record for one day was 6.1km, completely laid, covered and backfilled. The farmers worked in teams of seven, rotating in eight crews to cart the pipes from stacks, lay them in the bottom of the trench, fit the seals and join the pipes and then cover the pipe to ensure it did not expand in the sun. The work begun at the end of September and 73km have been laid so far, with 59km more to go. Farmers have now stopped to take care of harvest before resuming again in February and they hope to have it finished by April. "The pipeline has been an enormous strain on the farmers, who have to run their farms as well as lay the pipe," Mr James said. "But this is a once in a lifetime thing and most people see that and are willing to do their share. "When it is finished, we will have a wonderful asset that will be here forever and the generations behind us won't have to worry and cart water like we had to." Mr James said his motivation to get the scheme underway was the season of 1998, when he had to cart a lot of water and couldn't cart from the local catchment, McCanns rock, because it was empty. "We had to cart water in a 100km round trip and I figured something had to be better than that," he said. "Hyden has also been in trouble for water over the past few years because growth has outgrown supply." Mr James's answer to the water problem was to get the community together and put together an application in June 1998 to gain funding under the State Government's Rural Water Supply Improvement Program. The application, as well as an application by North Karlgarin for a separate spur line from the main scheme, was successful and the scheme received $3.6 million funding. As part of the required community contribution, farmers had to outlay $9983 per farm and the Water Corporation estimated the labour and machinery input to be worth about $9500 per farm. The farmers' contribution and the grant makes the pipeline the biggest money outlay and the longest pipe built under the scheme so far in WA. The project is an extension of the Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme and includes building 129km of pipeline, four pumping stations and a 500 kilolitre storage tank. The water will be sourced from Yerrakine dam, near Kondinin, which in turn is fed from the Harris River dam. The water is supplied on a restricted basis of 8000 litres per day per farm. "The main thing people need to realise still is that they still have to look after their own dams, tanks and catchments, as this is a supplementary scheme and not a comprehensive one," Mr James said. He said there had been a need for good quality water over the years, especially for spraying. The pipeline, as well as supplying 43 farms, will also provide a lot more cartage points in the area for other people not connected. "The stand pipes at Hyden and Karlgarin have been padlocked for a quite a few years now and, once this scheme is operating, the padlocks will come off," he said. Mr James said that, like the tourist advancements in Hyden, many people out there never believed it could be done but, with believing that it was possible, water will finally come to Hyden.

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