Gairdner becomes WA’s 11th water deficient area

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Cally DupeCountryman
A file photograph of CBH’s Gairdner site.
Camera IconA file photograph of CBH’s Gairdner site.

The State Government plans to cart water to CBH's Gairdner site from Friday after the South Coast town became the 11th WA area declared water deficient in 12 months.

Water Minister Dave Kelly today announced 660 kilolitres of water a week would be carted to two, 75,000 litre mobile water tanks at CBH’s Gairder site, 150km north of Albany, to help farmers in desperate need of water for livestock.

The central pickup point for farmers to access emergency stock and firefighting water will be a temporary solution until what Mr Kelly said was a “longer-term site” was ready.

A water deficiency declaration is made by the State Government as a last resort after continued dry conditions have depleted on-farm and local community water supplies.

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The official declaration follows an application from the Shire of Jerramungup on behalf of 10 farmers in the Gairdner farming area, located about 40km west of Jerramungup.

Gairdner, in the Shire of Jerramungup, is the latest in a string of WA locations to be declared water deficient dating back to May last year.

Eight of the locations are within the Great Southern, which Mr Kelly said was “one of the most impacted places on the planet” for reduced rainfall due to climate change.

“We have never before seen such a high demand for water carting in the State,” he said.

“The Great Southern agricultural region is experiencing extremely dry conditions following two years of well-below average annual rainfall.

Mr Kelly said Bureau of Meteorology rainfall figures showed Gairdner had experienced two consecutive years of rainfall below its annual 450mm average.

It received 319mm last year and 294mm in 2018 — its third-lowest annual rainfall figure on record.

Mr Kelly said recent rainfall had not alleviated farmers’ need to cart water for livestock.

He called for the Federal Government to help bankroll the water carting costs through its Future Drought Fund.

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the below average rainfall was having a significant impact on broadacre agribusinesses.

“This water deficiency declaration will provide livestock producers in the Gairdner district with relief,” she said.

“So they can look after the welfare of their animals and streamline their farm business operations by reducing the time, effort and cost of carting water.”

Water carting arrangements are managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation with support from Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Water Corporation.

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 resource, farmers carting livestock water have been 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 agric.wa.gov.au

WA Water Deficiencies

· Mount Short, in the Shire of Ravensthorpe (declared May 2019)

· Mallee Hill, in the Shire of Lake Grace (declared May 2019)

· Hollands Rock, in the Shire of Kent (declared May 2019)

· Ardler Road area, south of Newdegate, in the Shire of Lake Grace (declared December 2019)

· Jerramungup North, in the Shire of Jerramungup (declared December 2019)

· Kukerin, in the Shire of Dumbleyung (declared February 2020)

· Hamilton, in the Shire of Kent (declared February 2020)

· Salmon Gums, in the Shire of Esperance (declared March 2020)

· Gairdner, in the Shire of Jerramungup (declared June 2020)

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