$4.5 million drilling program starts in the West Kimberley
Aiming to identify new groundwater resources for irrigated agriculture
Made possible by the State Government's Royalties for Regions program
The next major stage of Water for Food groundwater investigations has kicked off in the West Kimberley region, with the first of three drilling programs valued at $4.5 million now underway.
Water Minister Mia Davies said investigations would target the West Kimberley, Midlands and Myalup-Wellington regions from now until the end of the year.
"The aim of the drilling project is to identify new, sustainable groundwater resources to meet the needs for irrigated agriculture and to develop a scientific database useful for government, industry and individuals to make more informed decisions in the future," she said.
Investigations in the West Kimberley will assess and monitor aquifer characteristics in areas of potential economic development and examine the impact of groundwater abstraction.
"If the aquifers are found to be prospective, further studies will need to be undertaken to determine potential impacts on river ecosystems and sensitive ecological areas and the effects of long-term abstraction on the saltwater interface," Ms Davies said.
Airborne electromagnetic surveys were carried out last year collecting a range of scientific data including geophysical information, details on the geology and hydrogeology of the area, the depth of the groundwater table, salinity levels and boundaries of the groundwater system.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Water for Food program, supported by the State Government's Royalties for Regions program, aimed to lift productivity in agriculture and was crucial in encouraging capital investment in regional Western Australia.
"Addressing the reliability and security of groundwater supplies in these priority areas will deliver options for irrigated agricultural development and expansion for new and existing agricultural enterprises," Mr Redman said.
"An integral part of the investigations involves stakeholder engagement, including discussions with local landholders, to gain an understanding of ground conditions."
Water Minister's office - 6552 5500
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700