Department says good time to work on water supplies
Released 24 Feb 2012
The Department of Water says dryland farmers should be taking stock and preparing for any water challenges in the year ahead.
"Now is the time we recommend planning for the years ahead," the department's Manager Rural Water Planning Martin Revell said.
Dryland farmers in the below 600mm rainfall area are eligible for farm water supply audits through the Farm Water Supply Planning Scheme.
Farmers in areas not serviced by scheme water can also access the Farm Water Rebate Scheme, and apply for a rebate of up to 50 per cent of the cost of implementing improvements to on-farm water supplies. The rebate is capped at $15,000.
"This time last year, a lack of rainfall and low runoff in dryland farming areas east of the Darling Scarp stretched many on-farm water supplies," Mr Revell said.
The situation prompted the Minister for Water to declare two water deficiencies in Kent and Salmon Gums, with the department carting emergency livestock water to those localities. A deficiency declaration is still in place in Salmon Gums where the department is still carting water to 14 landholders.
A year on from a difficult dry season, Mr Revell said a survey of Western Australia's dryland farming water situation showed a recovery of on-farm and emergency livestock water supplies.
He said rainfall in November and December last year helped to boost emergency supplies and also assisted in restoring on-farm water storage to reasonable levels.
"A reduction in livestock numbers in some areas had also eased the demand for water, which had assisted supply levels in dryland agricultural communities," he said.
Mr Revell said while the situation is an improvement on last year, farmers should be looking to improve on-farm water supplies to reduce the need for water carting in dry seasons.
"Emergency dryland water supplies are for short-term crisis use only and farmers still need to plan appropriately for their own sustainable supply of on-farm water."
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 or 0434 603 441