All 12 of WA’s water deficiencies revoked after incredible rain
All 12 of WA’s water deficiencies have been revoked after widespread rainfall replenished stocks across the State, breaking for many what had been a three-year drought.
The final two — Grass Patch and Salmon Gums in the Esperance Shire — were revoked last week.
It follows an “unprecedented” period in WA, in which the State Government spent almost $4 million carting emergency livestock water to farming communities in the Great Southern, Esperance and Wheatbelt regions.
Many farmers were forced to reduce flock sizes or destock completely as dams turned to dust.
Mt Short in the Shire of Ravensthorpe’s water deficiency declaration in May 2019 was the first of the 12. They were the first declarations of their kind handed down since 2011.
Gairdner’s was the first to be revoked, after a storm last August dumped 70-100mm across the area, while nine of the others were revoked earlier this year.
Grass Patch had been declared water deficient since December 19, 2019, and Salmon Gums, since March 6 last year.
But this year’s rain — 212.8mm for Grass Patch and 257.2mm for Salmon Gums — provided relief.
Looking ahead, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will liaise with farmers and Shires to monitor water levels.
Acting Water Minister Simone McGurk said the State would continue to work on improving water security for farmers.
“The McGowan Government continues to expand off-farm strategic community water supplies across dryland agricultural regions and improve water security across the State, in response to climate change,” Ms McGurk said.
The State has spent $2.2 million on strategic community water supplies and government-owned water sources since June 2018 and a further $1.5 million partnering with local government to upgrade and develop community water supplies.
It is also seeking for its $3.65 million contribution to refurbish 70 community dams to be matched by the Federal Government through its National Water Grid Authority.
“We call on the Federal Government to get behind WA farmers and support the McGowan Government's $7.3 million plan to further bolster off-farm water supplies,” Ms McGurk said.
A further $2.2 million has been spent on developing and upgrading strategic community water supplies and government-owned water sources since June 2018, and another $1.5 million partnering with local government to upgrade and develop local community water supplies.
Water deficiency declarations are made by the State Government to provide emergency water to farmers for livestock welfare during very dry periods.
The McGowan Government has spent more than $3.7 million on direct water carting to central locations to support emergency livestock needs.
In February this year, the McGowan Government also announced a $7.3 million program to upgrade and refurbish 70 community dams in order to provide vital, non-potable water supplies to farmers during dry years.
The McGowan Government has already committed $3.65 million (the largest investment in community dam infrastructure in the State's history) towards the program and is calling on the Federal Government to match this funding through its National Water Grid Authority.
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