The A-Culture team recently visited our Waikerie site to do some maintenance and make improvements in readiness for an upcoming visit by potential investors. The clear, cloudless 37 degree day highlighted the huge potential for solar and wind energy to be integrated into the site. This will allow A-Culture to be as off-grid as possible and will minimise our operating costs in a time when power prices are rising substantially.
We marked out the planned location of the finfish nursery and the first grow out module which really highlighted the compact footprint of the initial development on the 52-hectare block and the potential for future expansion. While this initial develop takes up only a fraction of the block, the fish won’t get lonely as there was plenty of scat(tered!) evidence of local kangaroos passing though.
The highlight of the visit was uncapping the bore and sampling the water. The aquifer was about 4 meters lower than when the bore was first installed and is now sitting at around 48 metres. This slightly lower level is most likely the result of the near-record floodwaters passing down the River Murray following heavy rains in the eastern states. The pressure of all that the freshwater infiltrating the surface layers of soils can drive down the aquifer. The floods have been devastating for many river communities, but A-Culture is lucky to be situated about 2km from the River Murray and 20m above the normal river level and so there is no risk of the block being flooded.
On-site testing of the bore water revealed the water temperature was a balmy 24.8 degrees and specific gravity (as measured using a hydrometer) was 26g/L which is equivalent to a salinity of 26ppt. The water was completely clear and had a medium saltiness as judged by the finger dip and lick test! The sample has been taken to Adelaide for further water analysis to compare to the results of the sample taken when the bore was installed.
This visit also emphasised the beauty and seclusion of the site – the only signs or sounds of human activity were the occasional small private plane using Waikerie airstrip and a worker on the neighbouring property tending to a small plantation of trees. As Daryl Kerrigan in the movie The Castle would have said “how’s the serenity? So much serenity!” No concerns about A-Culture operations disturbing the neighbours and vice versa. Very reassuring.