Water Resources Minister Dr Kim Hames said today the issue of production licences for artesian wells constructed in the Artesian Basin Rehabilitation Program had been resolved.
The Carnarvon Artesian Basin Advisory Group raised its concerns about water availability with the Minister last week (October 24) at the launch of the $4.8 million project to reduce groundwater wastage in the Carnarvon Artesian Basin.
“Pastoralists in this area are in a unique position in that they are investing 20 per cent of the cost, or between $20,000 and $40,000, to controlling bores and bore drains which will drastically cut water wastage and result in tremendous environmental and economic benefits,” Dr Hames said.
“The pastoralists were concerned about the licences and what that meant for the future viability of the land and any plans to diversify.
“The Water and Rivers Commission Board has agreed to issue licences for 10 years with a right of renewal and open allocation for stock and domestic use.
“There will also be unspecified allocation for diversification, however, when monitoring indicates the aquifer is under significant demand the board, in consultation with the local management committee, will issue allocations for commercial purposes on the current use of the day.
“I believe this arrangement will give the pastoralists the assurance of water they need to consider diversification into areas such as aquaculture and tourism.
"Licensing of the artesian basin wells is necessary to ensure a high standard of construction of the wells and pipes is maintained to protect the integrity of the resource from contamination between aquifers and wastage.”
The Carnarvon Artesian Basin bore rehabilitation project is a partnership between pastoralists and Government, funded on the basis of 40 per cent Commonwealth funds, 40 per cent State Government and 20 per cent from the lease holder. The Water and Rivers Commission is co-ordinating the project with input from Agriculture WA.
“The rehabilitation project involves redrilling new holes, capping-off old bores and distributing the water from the new bore around the stations through sealed pipe-work rather than inefficient open drains that resulted in large water losses through leakage and evaporation,” Dr Hames said.
Media contact: Sandy Gater 9424 7450