A proposed irrigation scheme for Western Australia’s Southern Forests region has received support from the community and local irrigators through a Letter of Intent process.

The irrigation scheme aims to increase water availability for new irrigated areas and expand existing ones, as well as provide a strengthened economy through the creation of jobs.

Through the scheme, it is expected water will be distributed via about 100km of pipeline and pumped with four pump stations, depending on a final scheme design.

At this stage, irrigation rights in the scheme area are likely to be provided at 95 per cent reliability, taking into account climate change modelling.

WA Water Minister Mia Davies said, “The $3.6million Water for Food Southern Forests water futures project is investigating the potential for an irrigation scheme in the Warren-Donnelly and Southern Blackwood districts, to identify new water supply options and increase availability for the development of new irrigated areas and to expand existing ones.”

Ms Davies said the formal Letter of Intent process far exceeded expectations, with 68 submissions received, over 50 per cent above the initial target.

This represents a total of 92 properties being potentially serviced by an irrigation scheme, requiring a volume of 10.3 gigalitres.

“Now that the demand has been identified and the locations of potential subscribers have been mapped out, a scheme will be designed by experts from Tasmanian Irrigation and a business case will be developed,” Mia Davies said.  

WA Regional Development Minister, Terry Redman said the regional benefits of the project included increased investment, a strengthened economy and the creation of sustainable job opportunities.

“It is envisaged a scheme will involve co-investment by the Government and private sectors, with the sale of water entitlements comprising the private contribution,” Mr Redman said.

“This is an exciting opportunity to transform the current use of irrigation water in the Warren-Donnelly area and enable the expansion of the irrigated district to those areas that currently have limited options.”

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