Leading South Australian apple grower Joyson Orchards is harvesting their first premium Rockit apple crop, just four years after investing in a 6 hectare, 17,000 tree expansion, enabled by a new supply of climate-independent recycled water from SA Water’s nearby Gumeracha Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The Adelaide Hills orchard is expecting to harvest 100 tonnes of Rockit apples that will go towards satisfying a high national demand, including distribution through supermarket chain Woolworths in mid-2019, with next year’s harvest expected to triple in quantity.
Joyson Orchards’ Director Mark Joyce said it was exciting to see the fruits of their labour and collaboration with SA Water deliver results.
“The new orchard is quite unique as we used and adapted existing vineyard infrastructure into industry-leading growing techniques, with direct drip feed irrigation,” said Mark.
“We were able to build a resilient and sustainable food production system to satisfy the local and international demand for South Australia’s world class produce.
“Water availability in managing primary production is paramount – especially in our state – and having a reliable climate-independent water source has drought-proofed our property, securing our future.”
More than 30 million litres of recycled water from SA Water’s treatment plant has been supplied to Joyson Orchards so far this financial year, with the resulting growth creating two more full-time jobs and up to 45 seasonal positions.
“SA Water showed a genuine willingness to help us find a solution and the outcome we achieved was less expensive, while providing the level of water security essential to the viability of our project,” Mark said.
“There was significant investment on each side with SA Water’s planned upgrade to their Gumeracha Wastewater Treatment Plant, and a new containment dam built on our side to store the water they produced.
“We get a climate-independent source of nutrient-rich water and they grow a customer and reduce the amount of water that needs to be returned to the environment.”
SA Water General Manager Customer Delivery Kerry Rowlands said the Joyson Orchards story showed how smart thinking about water can grow South Australia’s economy.
“The critical step in their development was securing a reliable source of additional water – using recycled water provides great economic and environmental value,” said Kerry.
“Recycled water has a higher level of nutrients which is great for horticultural application, and it’s widely used by fruit and vegetable growers across the Northern Adelaide Plains to grow food for domestic and international markets.
“It’s rewarding when we’re able to work in partnership with our customers to find opportunities that deliver positive outcomes for all of us, unlocking potential in their business and building a better life for our communities.”
Joyson’s expansion added to 20 hectares of established plantings that produce premium cherries and grapes watered from a private catchment dam, as well as a variety of apples such as Pink Lady, Bravo and Miapple, which now also have their water needs supplemented by recycled water.
SA Water is currently calling on ideas from prospective users of high quality recycled water from its Hahndorf Wastewater Treatment Plant, to expand use in the Adelaide Hills and support increased irrigation opportunities.
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