Outline livestock, water needs in survey now: DWER

Zach RelphCountryman
A drying dam, near Ravensthorpe, in March this year.
Camera IconA drying dam, near Ravensthorpe, in March this year. Credit: Zach Relph

Dwindling water supplies across parched agricultural areas in WA’s south have prompted the State Government to start planning for water demand ahead of summer.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation director-general Mike Rowe is encouraging farmers battling low rainfalls to outline projected summer livestock numbers and off-farm water-carting needs.

It comes after Mallee Hill, Mt Short and Hollands Rock were declared water-deficient by WA Water Minister Dave Kelly amid a crippling extended dry spell earlier this year.

Mr Rowe urged livestock producers to complete a short survey, found on DWER’s website, and detail water-carting needs for cattle and sheep from now to May next year.

“This survey is another tool we can use to help us gather an accurate picture of demand and identify vulnerable shires,” he said.

“(The dry spell) has put pressure on farm livestock water supplies and contributed to the declaration of three water-deficient shires earlier in 2019.

“By gathering as much information about on-farm water supplies, we can better monitor community supplies and respond if needed.”

DWER is working alongside the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Water Corporation to determine water levels at shires and rural communities enduring low rainfall.

Nyabing, Lake Grace, Newdegate and Ravensthorpe are among farming towns in the State’s south which are enduring low seasonal rainfall.

Last month Mt Weld Station pastoralist Patrick Hill repeated calls for Laverton to be declared a drought-affected area.

Mr Hill, the Shire of Laverton president, warned northern Goldfields cattle producers were on the brink of water-shortage crisis following just low monthly rainfalls.

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