The Murtho Salt Interception Scheme (SIS) forms part of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s Basin Salinity Management Strategy, which aims to manage River Murray salinity and protect natural resource values. The project consists of nearly 50km of pipeline ranging from 125mm to 450mm diameter, 23 groundwater bores which are located both on highland and River floodplain areas, rehabilitation of a 225kW relift pump station, and rehabilitation of the Disher Creek wetland area, to enhance the habitat of endangered fish species. Saline groundwater is pumped to the Noora Disposal Basin. Along with other SIS projects, in-River salinity is reduced on average by approximately 60EC units, however this reduction is considerably higher during periods of drought.
Tonkin Consulting was engaged for both concept and detailed design phases of the project, which included stakeholder and community engagement and providing technical advice during construction.
To meet budget and program requirements, the design was conducted prior to hydrogeological investigations being completed. This required developing a procurement strategy that allowed for the project to be staged and progressively constructed as information was developed, to mitigate risks associated with these unknowns. This also required the ongoing co-ordination and communication within the project team, and delegating authority for decision making within key members of the project team.
The project also included detailed environmental reviews which allowed for the timely granting of environmental approvals, including native vegetation and Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) requirements.