A comprehensive study of Western Australia's growth opportunities from now to the year 2040, together with projected population levels and water needs, will be conducted as part of the Kimberley pipeline feasibility study.
Water Resources and North-West Minister Ernie Bridge said the study would be the most significant and challenging task yet undertaken for the feasibility study's management and advisory board.
"The study will seek to identify on an industry-by-industry basis large growth opportunities over the next half century," Mr Bridge said.
The $200,000 study has been awarded to a consortium of local and international firms comprising Fluor Daniel, the Menlo Group, and Data Analysis Australia.
"Fluor Daniel's extensive engineering and project management experience, combined with advice from international strategic planners, the Menlo Group, and statistical analysis and modelling by the Perth-based Data Analysis Australia, ensure a strong blend of talent, local knowledge, and world-wide expertise," Mr Bridge said.
As well as the major developmental focus, the study will provide detailed analysis of differing population forecasts and develop a range of models for urban water use.
"The aim is to develop a Statewide geographical picture of emerging large scale water demands based on future trends and practical assumptions," the Minister said.
"Once that overall picture has been formed, decisions on water sourcing, taking account of quantity and quality required, can be made."
A range of water supply options, including the use of currently neglected fresh Kimberley water, would then be short-listed according to cost, environmental impact and social benefit.
Because the study breaks new ground for Western Australia, a small steering committee comprising senior representatives of the public and private sectors has been assembled to provide advice and guidance over the project's four-month life.