THE WATER AND RIVERS Commission (W&RC) of the State Government of Western Australia is proposing to spend US$8.9M to tackle the salt problem in Wellington dam. The state expects the federal government to contribute another US$8.9M for the study.

Farmers have complained to the state commission that water from the dam had unacceptable levels of salinity – up to 1200mg of salt per litre during the past two summer irrigation periods. The salt problem appears to have been caused by land clearing around the dam in the 1950s.

A W&RC spokesperson said the salt problem in the Wellington dam could be solved by diverting the Collie river east, which accounted for 10% of the water flowing into the dam but 40% of its salt intake.