State and Federal Government
Salt Interception Schemes (SIS) form a key component of managing salinity within the River Murray. The construction of the schemes began in the late 1980s in response to increasing salinities in the River Murray that were attributed to groundwater mounds beneath irrigation districts and irrigation drainage schemes. By pumping groundwater, these borefields reduce the hydraulic gradient that drives saline groundwater towards the floodplain and river. The removal of salt before it reaches the river reduces salinity related costs, is cheaper than desalinisation and ensures water quality is appropriate for end users. The schemes are also proving to have long-term ecological benefits for River Murray floodplain tree health.
The AWE team has a long and continuous work history in the investigation, design, construction and optimisation of groundwater management infrastructure in the competitively tendered field of borefield design. Members of the AWE team have designed and built all but two of the schemes constructed since 1988.
Salt Interception Schemes undergo regular reviews to assess performance. The most recent of these reviews of SIS designed and constructed by AWE staff indicate they are continuing to achieve the design targets for the clients.