Bolivar Sewerage Treatment Works was established at Bolivar in 1966 to service a large part of the Adelaide metropolitan area and there was an early hope that treated water from the plant could be used to irrigate the gardens at Virginia. The plan to utilize the effluent for agricultural purposes was objected to by the government on the grounds of the future possibility of problems with soil salinity and the health aspects of growing vegetables with this water. The growers found that the treated effluent was to be pumped into the sea and a group of them formed a committee in early 1968 in order to demonstrate the viability of using water from the plant.
The previous year a petition from residents in the Virginia area to the Munno Para Council let it to investigate the possibility of using water from the Bolivar Works for irrigation and, as a result, the council recommended that a pilot scheme be instituted. Following this, the owners of a local property offered 14 acres of land as site for the proposed experimental garden and with the help of number of business houses and assistance from the government, an initial crop of potatoes and onions were planted and raised using water from the plant. For two years (1968-70) the Munno Para Experimental Garden produces a series of successful harvesting and with the active support of the council, particularly Robert Sanders, hope for a successful resolution of the issue was again high. However, reports from the Department of Agriculture did not dispel all doubts concerned with the scheme and growers were advised that water would not be available until the mid-1970s.