Water licence a lifeline for Clare Valley Racing Club

The Clare Valley Racing Club can now access an extra 12 megalitres of water to maintain its race course, thanks to a new licence approved by the Department for Environment and Water, Water Licensing.

It takes the total allocation to nearly 32 megalitres and represents a lifeline for the 125-year-old club which faced rising water costs and an uncertain future.

Clare Valley Racing Club secretary Tanya Bertelsmeier said the club may have been forced to close without enough water to maintain its track to Thoroughbred Racing SA safety standards, which aim to reduce the risk of impact injuries on horses.

“Keeping the track in the necessary condition required more water than our previous licence allowed and we’d received hefty fines for exceeding this, which wasn’t sustainable,” she said. “It’s been an ongoing issue for the past 11 years and the committee was concerned about how much longer we could go on as a race club.

“We were running out of options, so we’re relieved that Natural Resources Northern and Yorke has helped us to find a solution that works for everyone. I have personally invested a lot of time and energy into this process and thanks must also go to our grounds person David Meaney, Steve Quartermain from Natural Resources and the Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs for listening to our challenges.”

Working with a nearby landholder and in accordance with the water management principles of the Natural Resources Management Act (2004), the solution involved transferring an unused portion of a neighbouring landholder’s allocation.

The new licence has been issued for a ten-year period, with a monitoring schedule in place to ensure the continued health of the surrounding environment. Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Water Officer Steve Quartermain said it was a complex and unique application to navigate but he was pleased that a collaborative solution could be reached, which also met stringent water management regulations.

“Clare Valley Racing Club is an icon of the Clare Valley, and incredibly important for business in the region. Race events hosted by the club attract large volumes of visitors into the area, helping to support the local economy and providing employment,” he said.

“Assisting the club with getting access to the water they desperately required was important to Natural Resources. I am pleased that we were able to achieve a positive outcome.“

Permits and licences are required for the take and use of prescribed water resources to ensure resource sustainability, and are based on each region’s water allocation plan (WAP). A WAP ensures that the needs of the environment are taken into account when determining how much water is made available.

For more information about water licences in the Northern and Yorke region, contact Steve Quartermain on 8843 1400 or email ny.landscape@sa.gov.au.

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