Water find just divine

Kate PollardThe West Australian

Trusting a gut feeling has paid off after eight years for Cranbrook farmer Warwick Armstrong and his search for fresh underground water.

To droughtproof his farm, Teralinga, Mr Armstrong has spent close to $100,000 on drilling, desktop studies, and even offered a $10,000 reward in the _Countryman _ in 2012.

Despite no takers, the water divining sceptic last month finally struck it lucky.

Convinced there was water on his property, he enlisted the help of local water diviner Joe Fitzpatrick, and Albany-based WA Drilling Services, who both had success on neighbouring farms.

Three bores were drilled and all came up fresh, providing access to 133,000 litres a day of sheep water and 22,000 litres of human quality water.

"Before that, we had a few low yielding bores used to complement dams," Mr Armstrong said.

The need to droughtproof the farm was heightened after the Armstrongs started an intensive livestock enterprise believing they had plenty of water, as well as mating 3000 Merinos.

But dry years from 2006 through to 2010 made life difficult.

Now, after eight years of looking, the livestock producer can sleep easier at night.

"It's an unbelievable feeling to know you are droughtproof. There are not that many places that have that security," Mr Armstrong said.

"I had a gut feeling we had it here, but where we found it was the last place I would have thought, the absolute last place.

"It was barley grass country that looked like it was going saline and we drilled 61m into granite to find it."

But using a water diviner didn't come easy for the sceptic.

"I've always said I want to believe in it but I have been disappointed that many times, but three for three is a bit hard to argue," Mr Armstrong said.

Using sheoak, Cranbrook diviner Mr Fitzpatrick learnt from Teddy Pope, when working across the South West in the 1970s.

"There is always water to be found. But if anyone tells you they can tell salt from fresh, don't believe them. That is a myth," Mr Fitzpatrick said. "Usually when you drill it's one in five that is any good and all the rest are too salty, no matter where you go."

Mr Armstrong was also grateful to WA Drilling Services which said it would cover the cost of the last rod, when it cased water at 61m.

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