The Western Australian Government has increased grants of up to $2 million for dryland communities to increase fit-for-purpose non-drinking water use for the community and industries through improved water infrastructure.

The increased funding is part of a $30 million Watering WA initiative which boosts grants for regional infrastructure, and expands the Department of Water’s existing Farm Water Rebate Scheme to include farms connected to scheme water and increases rebates for on-farm water supply improvements.

Western Australian Minister for Water, Mia Davies, said applications are open until 30 November 2016 for the first round of the $21.6 million Watering WA Towns grants program, a component of the new $30 million Watering WA initiative made possible by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program.

“Watering WA Towns expands the Community Water Supply Program grants – from a maximum of $100,000 per grant to up to $2 million – for local governments, community groups and businesses to co-invest in infrastructure to harvest, store, treat and distribute non-potable water for irrigation and community use,” Ms Davies said.

“Watering WA will make hundreds of millions of litres of fit-for-purpose water available in our agricultural towns for purposes such as maintaining sports grounds and public spaces, industry supply, livestock requirements and emergency firefighting purposes.

“In the first two years, Watering WA will focus on dryland agricultural areas from the Mid-West to the Great Southern – areas that have an average annual rainfall of less than 600mm –before being expanded to include regional areas across the state.”

Western Australian Minister for Regional Development, Terry Redman, said the unprecedented investment in non-drinking water projects was ultimately aimed at supporting long-term growth of regional areas.

“Regional areas support a variety of industries that contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy and Royalties for Regions is investing in the development of practical water supply works that help support regional areas as attractive places to live, work and invest,” Mr Redman said.

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