Drone View of the Wheatbelt, WA

The Western Australian Government has announced over $1 million in new funding for projects to improve water security and managing climate change in regional communities by building and upgrading water tanks, bores and irrigation systems.

In the latest round of the Western Australian $3.2 million Community Water Supplies Partnership Program, the Mid West, Wheatbelt, and Great Southern communities will receive grants to help secure off-farm water supplies.

The Community Water Supplies Partnership Program is part of the Western Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to ensure farmers have access to reliable agricultural and emergency livestock drinking water sources.

Funding will assist rural communities to adapt to changing rainfall patterns by establishing infrastructure that maximises the efficient use of available water resources. 

The Community Water Supplies Partnership Program, which is funded in partnership with local government, provides up to $100,000 per project for local government and community groups to develop off-farm community water supplies.

This is a collaborative grant program between the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments.

Since May 2019, more than $3.9 million has been spent by the Western Australian Government on direct water carting to water deficient areas to support emergency livestock needs.

A further $2.64 million has been spent on developing and upgrading 113 strategic community water supplies and government-owned water sources since June 2018, and another $1.5 million for partnerships with local government to upgrade and develop local community water supplies.

In November 2021, the Western Australian Government announced an additional $10.5 million in funding over the next two years for projects to help secure additional off-farm non-potable water supplies for agricultural communities, including the upgrade and refurbishment of 70 agricultural area dams from the Mid West through to the Wheatbelt and Great Southern.

Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, said improving water management will help manage the impacts of climate change in regional communities.

“Communities who adapt to alternate water sources will benefit from not having to rely on drinking water for non-potable needs,” Mr Kelly said.

Western Australian Agricultural Region MLC, Darren West, said, “The Community Water Supplies Partnership Program with local governments is an important initiative for regional communities who need to ensure water is readily available for livestock, as well as important community amenities.”

Expanding supply in the Mid West and northern Wheatbelt

The regional shires of Moora, Morawa and Irwin will share in more than $353,728 in grants to expand water and irrigation supply. 

Many communities in the state’s Mid West and northern Wheatbelt have experienced significantly reduced rainfall due to the impacts of climate change. 

A grant of $100,000 will help the Shire of Irwin to expand emergency water supplies through the construction of three new water tanks, two new bores and an upgrade of an existing bore – helping the community to better prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Two individual grants of $100,000 will contribute to the cost of improving the Shire of Moora’s recycled wastewater irrigation supply system. 

The two projects will improve wastewater reuse management and increase volumes of fit-for-purpose water for irrigation purposes in the town.

Funding of $53,728 will help with the cost of completing the Shire of Morawa’s emergency water supply project. 

This project will secure a reliable fit-for-purpose water supply in the Morawa-Yalgoo area of the Shire through the installation of a new bore, a submersible pump, a solar pump system and four new tanks. 

The project will assist with emergency water for livestock and firefighting needs in the region.

Boosting water security in Eastern Wheatbelt 

The Eastern Wheatbelt shires of Merredin and Yilgarn will share more than $190,089 in grants to boost community water security.

The Shire of Yilgarn has received a grant of $91,068 to upgrade Southern Cross townsite’s wastewater reuse system and to help reduce the Shire’s reliance on scheme water, which is currently used with treated wastewater to meet irrigation requirements for the town’s recreation facilities.

Mr Kelly said these projects support increased water security and the use of non-potable water supplies in place of precious drinking water.

“Congratulations to the shires of Merredin and Yilgarn for making the move to establish infrastructure to improve emergency water supplies, and for the efficient use of available water sources for the irrigation of community facilities,” Mr Kelly said.

A grant of $99,021 has also been awarded to the Shire of Merredin, to contribute towards the cost of infrastructure associated with a small-scale desalination unit, which will provide an emergency water source for the farming community.

The project will desilt the existing brine evaporation ponds and connect the desalinated water to existing water storage facilities to improve water security in the Shire.

“These projects will help to provide a secure water supply for regional communities. This reduces reliance on scheme water for emergency livestock and community use,” Mr West said.

Upgrading water infrastructure in Southern Wheatbelt and Great Southern 

The regional shires of Lake Grace, Wagin, Pingelly and Woodanilling will share in more than $472,507 in grants to establish infrastructure to maximise the efficient use of available water resources. 

Two grants for $100,000 and $96,574 have been awarded to the Shire of Lake Grace to help upgrade the Buniche and Dempster Rock agricultural dams and catchments, boosting supplies in local areas experiencing water deficiencies. 

Through these grants, the Shire will also install two 500kL tanks in Lake Grace town to store collected stormwater, to support the increased water availability in the townsite.

A grant of $78,593 will help provide three additional access points for emergency water supply in the town of Wagin. The project will improve water security in Wagin, and the wider community during an emergency. 

The Shire of Woodanilling will receive funding totalling $99,975, to increase the capture and utilisation of stormwater from the town dam precinct. 

Two new tanks will provide more water storage, and an additional bore will supplement non-potable supplies during the dry summer months. 

This will provide more water for the community, while reducing reliance on scheme water.

The Shire of Pingelly has also been granted $97,365 to expand the townsite’s non-potable supply network, in order to help reduce the Shire’s reliance on scheme water to supplement irrigation of their sporting facilities.

This project will help maintain suitable turf conditions, allowing sports to be played throughout the summer and autumn months, which in turn offers opportunities to attract higher profile sports games, and more visitors to Pingelly.

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