Pilot grant helps water efficiencies

Hannelore HepburnCountryman

Dairy farmer Stuart Maughan is one of seven farmers in Harvey, about 140km south of Perth, who took steps to improve the efficiency of their irrigation with a $30,000 drought pilot grant last year.

Harvey Water delivers the water through 430km of pipes and 250 km of channels, with more than 1500 supply points between Waroona and Dardanup with the Harvey irrigation district predominantly piped.

Mr Maughan's farm was one of the properties visited by Mr Baston as part of his fact-finding travel through the South West, aiming to view examples of water-saving irrigation efficiency and to listen to other dairy farmers presenting their issues.

Mr Maughan runs a herd of 160 Holsteins and said recent improvements are all part of the need to use less water.

"I have a 460-megalitre water allocation and I use all of it," he said.

"The flood irrigation system and piping the pressurised water to the heads of the channel are part of a more efficient water usage.

"Once the pasture furthest away from the house will be automated, we will be able to irrigate at night and this will help reducing the water use further.

Harvey Water delivery co-ordinator and development officer Richard Yates said head ditch piping with all outlets in a closed pipe system presented the opportunity to automate irrigation and this could revolutionise farmers' lives.

White Rocks dairy farmer Michael Partridge of Brunswick said he was using water that was not fit for his paddocks because of the high salinity, and had to deep rip his paddocks every year in an attempt to remove the salt.

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