Western Australian irrigators in the Carnarvon region can now pump water from the Gascoyne River and Riverbed Sands after restrictions were removed for the first time since February 2017.
Irrigators can now access water above their annual water entitlement from Subarea A, with no monthly limit.
The announcement came after the water started flowing at 9 Mile Bridge on 17 January 2018.
River flows of 3.5m were first recorded at Yinnetharra Crossing gauging station several hundred kilometres inland on Sunday 14 January after widespread rainfall associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone Joyce across the middle and upper catchments of the Lyons and Gascoyne rivers.
Indications from sampling by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation are that water is of good quality around 146 mg/L in the first flows.
WA Minister for Water, Dave Kelly, said, “Ex-Tropical Cyclone Joyce has brought much needed rainfall to many parts of Western Australia, including the Gascoyne area.
“This flow is important news for Carnarvon’s horticultural industry, and the department’s monitoring network has been helping irrigators prepare for the water’s arrival by providing river flow advice.
“The Gascoyne River system is the main water source for the horticultural industry in Carnarvon and good flows are important for recharge to the groundwater aquifers used for irrigation and town water supply in between river flows.
“This welcome news gives a good start to this year’s water budget for the horticultural industry while we continue to work on the longer term improvements to water security.”