Harvey Water manager steps down after two decades

David CharlesworthHarvey-Waroona Reporter

AFTER 20 years keeping the taps on in the South West, Harvey Water general manager Geoff Calder is stepping down.

Mr Calder’s first days at Harvey Water were also when it separated from the State Government’s West Australian Water Authority and became a private company in 1996.

“Someone said to the directors at that time ‘you farmers, you’ve got no shot running this company, you’ll be handing it back two years’.

“So 20 years later we’re pretty pleased.”

Mr Calder began in agriculture, graduating from the University of WA, working in the Northern Territory, Laos and Queensland before coming to Harvey.

He said as well as building up the structure of the company in its early days, one of his biggest achievements had been the $85 million upgrade of the piping from dams to farms via a gravity pressure system.

“We were losing about 30 per cent of the water from the dam to the farm from leakage and seepage,” he said.

“What happens now is irrigators get their water from the dam under gravity pressure which is about as good as you can get it to people.

“They’ve got a huge advantage now instead of having to flood irrigate, now they can put in sprinklers.”

Mr Calder said one of the biggest changes he had seen had been the effect of climate change, particularly with water levels in dams.

“The overriding thing is climate change, we collect data on everything we lose basically.”

While he would be stepping back, Mr Calder said he would still be around for the transition to the new general manager, Bradd Hamersley, who begins next week.

“My time here has been enormously interesting, challenging, rewarding and fun,” he said.

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