Water deficiency has been officially declared in Dumbleyung and Kent in the Great Southern and Wheatbelt regions, Western Australia, after continued dry conditions have depleted on-farm and local community water supplies.
Water carting commenced on 21 February to the Kukerin area of the Shire of Dumbleyung and Hamilton’s area of the Shire of Kent, giving affected farmers access to emergency water supplies for animal welfare needs.
The State Government will cart an estimated 2,400KL of water each week for the Kukerin area and 1,600KL per week for the Hamilton area from the shires of Dumbleyung, Katanning, Broomehill-Tambellup and Kulin.
Water will be delivered to a series of 75,000L capacity portable tanks in Kukerin and a new 250,000L capacity tank at Hamilton’s dam, reducing the distance farmers need to travel to source emergency livestock water.
Water carting arrangements are being managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Water Corporation.
These are the eighth and ninth water deficiencies to be declared in Western Australia since May 2019, as dry conditions continue in the south-west of the state due to climate change.
Water deficiencies have also been declared in the shires of Ravensthorpe, Lake Grace (in the Mallee Hill area and Ardler Road area), Kent, Jerramungup North and Esperance (Grass Patch), and Jerramungup and Ravensthorpe (Jacup to West River area).
Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, said, “The Great Southern agricultural region is experiencing unprecedented dry conditions following two years of well below average annual rainfall. We now have nine water deficiency declarations and the possibility of more to come.
“The south-west of Western Australia is one of the most impacted places on the planet for reduced rainfall due to climate change. The nine concurrent water deficiencies now in place across the region emphasises this fact.
“In the past 12 months, the State Government has invested more than $1.5 million in 34 projects designed to improve community water supplies, including work on dams, catchments and bores. The state is calling on the Federal Government to support an expansion of this important work through the new Future Drought Fund.
“We have never before seen such a high demand for water carting in the state, with the cost of carting water for both public drinking and animal welfare needs estimated at more than $4 million since January 2019.”
Western Australian Agriculture and Food Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, said, “Persistent dry seasonal conditions have created a challenging environment for farming businesses throughout the agricultural region, particularly in the south-east.
“These water deficiency measures help provide water to meet livestock needs, and we continue to work with industry and landholders including providing timely information and advice to support stock welfare and land management.”