Recent rainfall across the State’s south has provided great relief to many of WA’s farmers.
Improved water availability has also allowed for nine Water Deficiency Declarations to be revoked in six shires from today, May 28, 2021, with the carting of water for emergency livestock purposes no longer required.
A ‘water deficiency declaration’ is a Government response to provide water to farmers for emergency animal welfare needs during very dry periods.
The revocations apply to the Esperance Shire (Cascade), Lake Grace Shire (Mallee Hill and Ardler Road), Jerramungup Shire (Jerramungup North), Ravensthorpe Shire (Fitzgerald and Mount Short), Dumbleyung Shire (Kukerin) and the Kent Shire (Hollands Rock and Hamilton).
The southern and south-eastern agricultural regions have been experiencing reduced rainfalls and dry conditions for multiple years now, with water deficiency arrangements in place in some areas since May 2019.
In response, the McGowan Government has spent more than $3.7 million on direct water carting to central locations to support emergency livestock needs, $2.2 million on the development and upgrading of strategic community water supplies and government-owned water sources since June 2018, and $1.5 million partnering with local government to upgrade existing and develop new community water supplies. This has resulted in increased off-farm water availability in many areas and has helped to make these revocations possible.
Only two water deficiency declarations remain in place, those being in Salmon Gums and Grass Patch in the Esperance Shire. Rainfall in these areas has been variable and while sufficient to allow for the temporary suspension of emergency water carting, the availability of water in on-farm dams and off-farm strategic supplies is still limited.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will continue to liaise with local farmers and shires, and monitor the situation over coming months.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“The recent rainfall and ability to revoke the water deficiency declarations in these areas has been a relief for local farmers across the region who have been dealing first-hand with the impacts of climate change and reduced rainfall over recent years.
“The McGowan Government’s investment in farming communities is paying dividends, by enlarging and desilting dams and improving catchments, many of the on-farm dams and off‑farm strategic community supplies have filled with recent rains, which provides for improved water security into the future.
“Climate change is having a significant impact on this region, which is why the McGowan Government is working closely with local governments and farmers to bring new water sources online and maintain access to existing supplies.”