Special Collections at Murdoch University

Special Collections at Murdoch University

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Govt stops funding Batalling salt trials

Zekulich, M. (1979) Govt stops funding Batalling salt trials. The West Australian, 28 November 1979. [Publication] [Special Collections]


Salinity trials at Batalling Creek in the Wellington catchment are to continue - but without further State Government commitment. The Minister for Works and Water Supplies, Mr MacKinnon agreed to the group known as WISALTS to continue a full-scale trial at its own expense. This will run for five years, with the group having he use of gauging equipment already installed and personnel to read it. In all, the State Government spent $15,164 on a trial, directed by Brookton farmer, Harry Whittington. It decided to accept the recommendation by a South Australian soil-salinity expert, Professor J.W. Holmes that the trial should be terminated. Professor Holmes said in a report to the State Government that he had no enthusiasm for the kind of drainage advocated by Mr Whittington. There has been controversy in Western Australia between farmers supporting Mr Whittington's system to reclaim salt-affected farmland and the solutions proposed by the Agricultural Department. Mr Whittington argues the interceptor banks trap falling rain and prevent surface or near-surface water flows to valleys where saline areas develop. The Agriculture Department says it has scientific evidence to show that salt is forced up into valley areas from below the surface, therefore the banks will not affect the situation. Mr Arthur Conacher, head of the Department of Geography at the University of Western Australia also shared his views on Professor Holmes' three-day visit to Western Australia, saying that this was inadequate to do more than touch on the topic and Professor Holmes' preparation was lacking and he has confused the Batalling trial site as being indicative of the total wheatbelt situation.

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This article is part of the WISALTS (Whittington Interceptor Sustainable Agriculture Land Treatment Society Incorporated) Collection.

Item Type: Special Collections
Collection: WISALTS Collection
Publisher: Seven West Media
Copyright: ©1979 The West Australian
Notes: 1 newspaper clipping
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/57223
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