- Drilling verifies high-quality water for irrigated crops at La Grange
Suitable water resources to expand irrigated agriculture in the West Kimberley have been identified by an extensive drilling program in the La Grange district.
Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the findings would underpin water security for future agricultural development, while safeguarding the environment and cultural sites.
Previous State Government work had identified that at least 50 gigalitres of water could be available from the Broome sandstone aquifer. The latest drilling program spanned 24 sites, identified via an airborne electromagnetic survey, over a 25,000 square kilometre area.
"The good news is that we found that most aquifer bores are access irrigation water quality, with a saline level below 500 milligrams per litre. The forecast bore yields are consistent with district averages ranging from 30 to 60 litres per second," Mr Baston said.
"This data will now be integrated into a groundwater model that shows how much water can be used and from what locations to balance sustainable irrigation development with the long-term health and cultural heritage of the La Grange aquifer."
The program was undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Food in close consultation with pastoralists and traditional owners from the Yawuru, Nyangumarta and Karajarri country, across an area that includes seven stations and four native title determinations. The sites have now had monitoring bores installed to allow irrigators, station owners, traditional owners and regulators to better understand the capacity of the resource by measuring how the aquifer responds to water use and seasonal rainfall.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the drilling program was part of the Regional Economic Development Water Opportunities project, which included a $6.4 million Royalties for Regions investment.
"This work will set the foundation for long-term sustainable agricultural development that will generate business growth and employment opportunities for northern communities, while preserving the resource and its cultural significance," Mr Redman said.
"I am pleased to see Royalties for Regions contribute towards the delivery of key economic infrastructure to facilitate economic development in regional Western Australia."
- La Grange district stretches from Roebuck Plains station to Mandora station
- Project involved soil surveys and investigations into land tenure arrangements
- La Grange stakeholders have developed a shared vision for their future
- For more information, visit http://www.agric.wa.gov.au and search for La Grange
Agriculture and Food Minister's office – 6552 5400
Regional Development Minister's office – 6552 6700