The Hinterland Environmental Water Scheme (HEWS) is a climate adaptive project dedicated to repurposing Class A recycled water for local food production, firefighting and environmental benefits within the Hinterland of the Mornington Peninsula.

The HEWS is being led by HEWS Inc, a not-for-profit community led incorporated association which is committed to food security, bush fire protection, green wedge preservation, local jobs, careers and the development of a fully green wedge compatible industry, whilst remaining a genuine climate change adaptive project.

For more information, refer to our brochure.

Why irrigate the Hinterland?

With a growing population and a climate-sensitive environment, HEWS Inc has identified an opportunity to further treat (via reverse osmosis) recycled water from the South Eastern Outfall to then pump to our farming hinterland. This will ensure agricultural land has the water in needs (espacially during extreme weather events) for the Mornington Peninsula to continue to thrive as part of the Melbourne metropolitan food bowl. In addition, the quality of this water will ensure a wider variety of fruits and vegetables can be grown in the Hinterland region, and food security in and around the area is assured.

Where will HEWS be located?

The HEWS underground pipe network will run along the road sides. Calculations have identified the area below as being initially achievable, covering a total of ~16,000 hectares. The pumping station is proposed to be located near the Dromana Industrial Estate.

Additional Benefits of the Scheme

As well as ensuring the Hinterland can remain a high-value horticultural area, there are a number of additional benefits (not ranked in any particular order):

Firefighting purposes:

The Hinterland has been identified as an extreme fire danger area, with many areas virtually undefendable. The network of pipelines associated with the HEWS will enable the establishment of a fire-fighting supply system into the Hinterland. This will avoid reliance on aircraft to defend properties and allow existing firefighting storage tanks to maintain a continuous flow of water, ensuring we are protected in the event of a catastrophic bushfire.

Green Wedge protection:

The Mornington Peninsula has already been earmarked for preservation as a significant farming area, by its scheduling as a Green Wedge Zone.
By increasing the value and diversity of crops grown in the area, the green wedge zone has another layer of protection in the face of increased property values and inappropriate development.

Local economic development:

Increased investment in primary production has significant knock-on effects into the secondary and tertiary levels of business, as local business owners are utilised for their services. For example, tractors used on farms will require servicing by local mechanical services.

Environment impacts:

Through this scheme, the total volume of water being discharged into Boags Rocks (near Gunnamatta) from the South Eastern outfall, will greatly reduce. Instead of flowing back into the sea, the water will be repurposed, so that dams and streams can start to regenerate using this water.

Career opportunities:

With increased farming development and production, will come an increase in related careers in and around the Hinterland. Early discussions with the local Chisholm Tafe have been promising with an opportunity to use student knowledge as the scheme develops.

The scheme also aims to be energy-neutral, with the potential to generate energy for the grid via a proposed hydro-scheme.
A solar farm will also be located nearby to the Treatment Plant to power the plant from the very early stages.

Contact us

For more information on HEWS or media enquiries, please contact:

Russell Joseph
HEWS Secretary