Rehabilitation project saves water in the West Canning Basin
Released 08 May 2007
A rehabilitation project in the West Canning Basin is saving more than 3.7 gigalitres of water a year, reducing feral animals and increasing biodiversity across the East Pilbara.
The project jointly managed by the Department of Water and the De Grey Land Conservation District has seen eleven free flowing bores decommissioned and six new bores drilled for pastoral use.
The Department of Water's acting regional manager for the Pilbara Steve Bellussi said that prior to the program, water from the decommissioned bores had created artificial wetlands that had become a haven for weeds and feral animals.
"The idea has been to shut these free flowing bores off and ensure better management of land and water resources in the East Pilbara," Mr Bellussi said.
"Previously more than 90 per cent of the flow from bore drains in the region was lost through evaporation and seepage.
"New artesian bores were fitted with control valves and the water will be distributed by pipeline to tanks and troughs. This has enabled huge water savings. Water use is now determined by stock requirements with a relatively small amount of evaporation rather than flowing uncontrolled into bore drains."
The artesian bores in the West Canning Basin were drilled as part of water source investigation program for Port Hedland in the 1970s. A total of 47 bores were drilled between 1973 and 1977 in a hydrogeological investigation of the potential water resources in the area.
Mr Bellussi said the old artesian bores were poorly constructed and the bore casings had either collapsed or were in danger of collapsing.
"The continued deterioration of these bores would have lead to reduced pressure in the artesian basin and contamination of the overlying aquifer," Mr Bellussi said.
"An integrated approach to water management in the area was initiated to rehabilitate the aquifer and reduce the impact on the environments around the bore drains."
Mr Bellussi said the project had produced a number of benefits to the environment and pastoralists including the management of feral animals, protection of local mound springs and protection of fragile rangelands areas.
The project was funded through the National Landcare Program and supported by the Rangelands Natural Resource Management group.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441