Water drilling focus on irrigated agriculture


A water drilling project begins shortly in the West Midlands area to better assess the area's potential for irrigated agriculture.

Department of Agriculture and Food hydrologist Russell Speed said the project would also help build an understanding of the cause of salinity on farmland in the Koojan-Gillingarra area.

"The project aims to identify potential new water supplies in the landscape suitable for irrigated agriculture by assessing the groundwater quantity and quality," Mr Speed said.

The department is undertaking the project, funded by Royalties for Regions, in collaboration with the Department of Regional Development and the Department of Water.

Mr Speed said the drilling would be guided by results of an airborne electro-magnetic geophysical survey undertaken in 2012, also funded by Royalties for Regions.

"The project will help determine water resource targets in the Capitela valley in the Gillingarra-West Koojan area, which contains unallocated water in shallow aquifers," Mr Speed said.

"Our preliminary data indicates the possibility of a paleochannel, an ancient underground water system that could contain water reserves that may be suitable for irrigated agriculture.

"The drilling program will target the broader, deeper water bearing targets indicated by the airborne electro-magnetic survey. Monitoring sites and a production bore will be installed and then tested so we can determine aquifer properties. These tests should be completed early next year."

The drilling program is scheduled to be completed later this year.

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