Wellington Dam, WA

The Western Australian Government has announced that the eastern Wheatbelt shires of Merredin and Yilgarn will share more than $190,089 in grants, in the latest round of its $3.2 million Community Water Supplies Partnership Program.

The latest round of grants will provide over $1 million in new funding for projects to improve local water security and will assist regional communities in managing the impacts of climate change.

Many communities in Western Australia’sWheatbelt have experienced significantly reduced rainfall due to the impacts of climate change. The Community Water Supplies Partnership Program is part of the Western Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to ensure farmers have access to reliable agricultural and emergency livestock drinking water sources.

Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly, said the funding will assist rural communities to adapt to changing rainfall patterns by establishing infrastructure that maximises the efficient use of available water resources.

“Congratulations to the shires of Merredin and Yilgarn for making the move to establish infrastructure to improve emergency water supplies, and for the efficient use of available water sources for the irrigation of community facilities,” Mr Kelly said. 

“These projects support increased water security and the use of non-potable water supplies in place of our precious drinking water.”

The Community Water Supplies Partnership Program, which is funded in partnership with local government, provides up to $100,000 per project for local government and community groups to develop off-farm community water supplies.

The Shire of Yilgarn has received a grant of $91,068 to upgrade Southern Cross townsite’s wastewater reuse system and to help reduce the Shire’s reliance on scheme water, which is currently used with treated wastewater, to meet irrigation requirements for the town’s recreation facilities.

A grant of $99,021 has also been awarded to the Shire of Merredin, to contribute towards the cost of infrastructure associated with a small-scale desalination unit, which will provide an emergency water source for the farming community. The project will desilt the existing brine evaporation ponds and connect the desalinated water to existing water storage facilities to improve water security in the Shire.

In November 2021, the Western Australian Government announced an additional $10.5 million in funding over the next two years for projects to help secure additional off-farm non-potable water supplies for agricultural communities, including the upgrade and refurbishment of 70 agricultural area dams from the Mid-West through to the Wheatbelt and Great Southern.

Member for Agricultural Region, Darren West, said, “I congratulate the two successful grant recipients for the great work they are doing in the innovative area of scheme water conservation and also boosting emergency water supplies.

“These projects will help to provide a secure water supply for regional communities. This reduces reliance on scheme water for emergency livestock and community use. 

“I would like to thank Minister Kelly for the investment and his continued work in conserving water in these communities.”

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