WATER SECURITY: ProteC Plus CEO Graham Minifie said the new dam covers (on water) would last up to 10 years and double farmers' water storage.
WATER SECURITY: ProteC Plus CEO Graham Minifie said the new dam covers (on water) would last up to 10 years and double farmers' water storage.

World-first dam cover inspired by heartbreaking drought loss

A GRANITE Belt business promising farmers greater water security has launched a state-of-the-art dam cover, designed to prevent evaporation.

ProteC Plus launched the "easy-to-assemble" covers this week, having spent 12 months designing and experimenting with materials.

CEO Graham Minifie said the covers could double farmers' water availability over a 12-month period.

"Going through drought ourselves, losing the whole property as far as the commercial part of it, I realised we had to conserve every piece of water made available," Mr Minifie said.

"What's happening is growers would look at building a dam that might cost them $200,000 but for $200,000 worth of covers, they're doubling their dam size without any extra infrastructure."

Likened to covers used to protect swimming pools, Mr Minifie said the high-quality netting material allowed water to seep in but prevented evaporation.

The cost-effective covers can be assembled by farmers, and can be removed or moved as needed.

1.25L plastic water bottles are used as buoys to float the covers.
1.25L plastic water bottles are used as buoys to float the covers.

Mr Minifie said the covers were a world-first design, using 1.25 litre plastic bottles as buoys to remain afloat.

"We started with PVC pipe, but further research showed that the long-life of the product wasn't good," she said.

"I thought why don't we use plastic bottles; it floated better, there was still heaps of water that held (the cover) down, and then we were reusing something that was going to landfill.

"The whole system has become unique for ProteC Plus."

More than 4,000 covers have been ordered, according to Mr Minifie, which will use 224,000 plastic bottles.

Mr Minifie said the company were working closely with Endeavour Foundation to access more bottles.

"We have enough from Endeavour to do one project," he said.

"From what we've been told, we will never run out."

With a focus on Granite Belt growers for the time being, Mr Minifie hoped to see the covers used nationally and even internationally.

"The reason we've done it is because we want to see it go Australia and worldwide, and I think it will," he said.

"We're giving financial control back to the grower, because without water, they've got nothing."

 

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Guy Gunnlaugsson and Aaron Minifie are helping to educate growers about the product.
Guy Gunnlaugsson and Aaron Minifie are helping to educate growers about the product.