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Proprietors of Nippy’s Fruit Juices and Moorook residents

Interview: 2nd August 2011

Jeff and Tina Knispel are the Proprietor’s of Nippy’s Fruit Juices, a proud Moorook family business founded by Jeff’s father Alic Knispel who started growing and packing citrus at Moorook in the 1930’s.

 Industry and community sustainability

Jeff and Tina converted their citrus properties to drip irrigation in 2006/07 which helped to save between and 1 and 2 megalitres per hectare. In 2008 when water allocations were reduced to 18% of high security licence water, their Company — Nippy’s — made forward payments to their growers to secure fruit crops. Forward payments ensured that their growers could lease more water, which helped to keep some of their growers in business.

Their community spirit also led them to support the Yatco Lagoon redevelopment by way of participating in meetings and contributing financially with a sponsorship.

Jeff and Tina first became involved in the Yatco Lagoon project in 2007 because of the drought and the opportunity to explore drying out Yatco Lagoon to save water so that more water could be available for irrigators.

Nippy’s and Banrock Station Wines helped to fund the early investigations by MacCivil Engineering and Hydroplan which gave the project early momentum. The investigations looked at suitable locations for embankments and early designs plus the costs of options to relocate irrigation pumps to the river should the channel dry out or become too salty.

Jeff was pleased that instead of the Government just blocking the lagoon off with a closed embankment to stop flow, they incorporated fish ways and flow regulators into the structure.

Community leadership

Jeff and Tina acknowledged the efforts of Trevor Norton who spoke publicly about the positive side of the Yatco Lagoon opportunity.

Jeff is adamant that the community success around Yatco Lagoon is because the community were united on the Yatco Lagoon Plan and its vision.

Vision

He believes that if a project such as this was repeated at 50 more permanently full wetlands along the river the water savings and the environmental benefits would be significant.

The Knispels can see the addition of walking trails radiating out from the centre of Moorook and including the lagoon, canoe trails and a golf course.

Nippy’s Fruit Juices has taken advantage of the positive changes at Yatco Lagoon and developed a story about their help to rejuvenate Yatco Lagoon which is featured on the Company website and on their 3kg orange bag labels.

Challenges

There are several challenges which include:

Maintaining community motivation while the relocation of the pumps is delayed due to high rivers;

-  Monitoring days are a good way to maintain enthusiasm for the project;

The embankment may need more openings to improve flow and the water quality in the lagoons.