Water Minister Dave Kelly has today declared a water deficiency in the Cascade area in the Shire of Esperance and announced the State Government will begin carting water tomorrow (June 17) for emergency water supplies for animal welfare needs.
This is the 12th declaration since May 2019 and follows an application from the Shire of Esperance on behalf of five farmers in the Cascade area. A declaration is made as a last resort, after continued dry conditions due to climate change have depleted on-farm and State Government managed community water supplies.
The declaration will see the State Government cart an estimated 640 kilolitres of water each week from the Water Corporation’s scheme at Norseman in the Goldfields region.
Water will be delivered to mobile tanks on Cascade oval, opposite the Cascade Primary School, reducing the distance farmers need to travel to source emergency livestock water.
Water carting arrangements are being managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Water Corporation.
Water deficiencies have also been declared in the shires of Ravensthorpe (Mount Short and West River area), Lake Grace (in the Mallee Hill area and Ardler Road area), Kent (Hollands Rock and South Kent), Jerramungup (Grass Patch and Gairdner), Esperance (Grass Patch and Salmon Gums) and Dumbleyung (Kukerin).
Water being carted under water deficiency declarations is strictly for emergency livestock and, if required, local firefighting emergencies.
Farmers requiring crop spray water are encouraged to access scheme standpipes for this purpose and should contact their Shire or visit the Water Corporation’s website for scheme standpipe locations.
In light of continuing water shortages and the need to conserve this precious water resource, farmers who are carting livestock water are encouraged to cart to closed storages or tanks, rather than into dams where water losses are high through evaporation.
For season 2020 farming advice, business information and the Support Services Directory, visit https://www.agric.wa.gov.au
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“This Government has made, and will continue to make, significant investment into strategic community water infrastructure. The McGowan Government has spent around $1.5 million on developing and upgrading 37 community water supplies in the south-east wheatbelt (dryland agriculture communities) in the last 12 months.
“This is the second water deficiency declaration in the past week and the 12th concurrent declaration in just over a year.
“The impact of climate change on reducing rainfall in this region is clear in our south-eastern region; from Grass Patch and Kukerin to Lake Grace and now Cascade.
“Like these other areas with declarations already in place, Cascade has been especially dry over the past two years.
“According to rainfall figures from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Kanga Downs Station, located 5.8 kilometres from Cascade, the area has experienced two consecutive years of well-below average rainfall.
“Normally averaging 400 millimetres, the past two years have seen consecutive record low levels of rainfall (212 millimetres in 2019 and 302 millimetres in 2018).”
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“This 12th water deficiency declaration highlights the climatic challenges facing our farmers, who are doing their best to employ sustainable land use strategies to remain viable.
“While there has been widespread rainfall in recent weeks, there simply has not been enough to produce runoff into dams.
“This is a unique situation to have so many water deficiency declarations over such a wide area of the grainbelt, and we are working together with industry and government agencies to assist landholders to adapt to a changing climate.”