Two gigalitres of relief water has been released for Carnarvon growers struggling with high salinity in their groundwater supplies.
Last week Water Minister Bill Marmion announced that two gigalitres of Low Aquifer Storage relief water would be made available, as per the 2011 Lower Gascoyne water allocation plan.
Monitoring conducted by the Department of Water indicated that the river bed sands aquifer was unusually salty, despite being 75 per cent full, Mr Marmion said.
“Based on the department’s aquifer report and other information, the Carnarvon Water Allocation Advisory Committee recommended the department release the relief water as quickly as possible,” he said.
“This recommendation was further supported by the Carnarvon Growers’ Association and Gascoyne water co-operatives, which will distribute the relief water from the Irrigation Scheme Supply.”
Gascoyne Water Co-operative chairman Dom Condo said the co-operatives were drafting a document outlining their allocation recommendations, which he was hoping to hand to the Department of Water before the end of the week.
“The policy of GWC is to deliver water to all growers,” Mr Condo said.
Member for the North West, Vince Catania, said it was the work of horticultural industry representatives who managed to secure the release of the extra water.
“Congratulations to the Carnarvon Water Allocation Advisory Committee for the success of their recommendation to the Government that relief water be released,” Mr Catania said.
“Our growers have been battling salinity for some time now and this release will go a long way ensuring the viability of valuable crops.
One of the (Lower Gascoyne water allocation plan’s) main objectives is to ensure the responsible management of Gascoyne’s aquifers to support State’s foodbowls,” Mr Catania said.
“The decision by the Government to assist farmers with relief water highlights the effectiveness of the plan and provides peace of mind to growers for the future.”