Improved water availability has allowed Western Australia’s two remaining water deficiency declarations to be revoked in the Shire of Esperance.
This follows an unprecedented period in WA, where the McGowan Government has supported farmers by providing emergency livestock water through 12 water deficiency declarations since May 2019.
Recent rainfall across the State’s south has provided relief to many WA farmers and from July 14, 2021 the declarations for areas of Grass Patch and Salmon Gums will be revoked with water carting for emergency livestock purposes no longer required.
The south-eastern agricultural region has experienced reduced rainfalls and dry conditions as a result of climate change for multiple years, with water deficiency declarations in place for Grass Patch since December 19, 2019 and for Salmon Gums since March 6, 2020.
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.
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.
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.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will continue to liaise with local farmers and shires and monitor the situation across WA’s dryland agricultural areas.
As stated by Acting Water Minister Simone McGurk:
“Following more than two years of extended dry seasons, recent sustained rainfall has provided welcome relief to our farmers and has enabled us to revoke the remaining water deficiency declarations in Western Australia.
“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.
“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.
“We also commend the Shire of Esperance for bolstering their community water supplies.”