The Government will continue to carry out a substantial program over the next few years to manage water use in the Kimberley region, Water Resources Minister Dr Kim Hames said today.
Dr Hames said the Water and Rivers Commission was currently preparing three allocation plans in the Kimberley.
These include a broad scale Kimberley Regional Allocation Plan and detailed plans focused on the Ord and the La Grange groundwater area.
Dr Hames said the allocation plans were in response to the Ord Stage 2 irrigation proposal and a proposal by Western Agricultural Industries for irrigated agriculture - primarily cotton - in the West Kimberley.
“A total of $450,000 has been committed in the 2000-2001 financial year to progress the Ord allocation planning work,” he said.
“This work will determine the environmental water requirements of the Ord River and the water available for irrigation.
“The funds build on work costing $280,000 that was carried out by the commission during the previous financial year.”
Dr Hames said a total of $108,000 has been allocated to the Kimberley and La Grange studies and work was well under way.
“Over several years, $400,000 has been provided for these studies including preparing two issues papers,” he said.
“One provides an overview of stakeholder issues in the Kimberley region and the second focuses on the La Grange groundwater sub-region.”
Dr Hames said a local stakeholder advisory committee had been established and was working well.
“Stakeholders and the general community are kept informed of the project’s progress by a newsletter prepared by the commission.”
The La Grange issues paper also outlines a four-stage work program by the commission and Western Agricultural Industries (WAI) to develop the groundwater allocation plan.
Phase one of the work program has ended, an issues paper released and reconnaissance level groundwater investigations have been completed.
The commission has completed the phase two work which includes a survey of existing water users in the La Grange area and the identification of groundwater-dependant environmental and Aboriginal cultural values.
The second stage of WAI’s groundwater investigation program is expected to be carried out in the 2001 dry season.
Fran Hodge on 9215 4800
WRC: Deborah Rohan on 9278 0300