Midlands’ water investigations progress

The Irwin area near Dongara and the Dinner Hill area north of Dandaragan have been identified for further investigation as irrigated agriculture hotspots, under the State Government’s Water for Food project.

Water Minister Mia Davies today announced the significant milestone in the $4.7 million Water for Food Midlands project, which is working to prove up one or more 2,000 to 3,000-hectare irrigated horticulture zones between Gingin and Dongara; one of the most economically promising irrigation areas in Western Australia.

“The two prospective localities have been selected with input from community and industry bodies and will now undergo further water, infrastructure, soil and crop analysis to determine if they are suited to intensive irrigated horticulture,” Ms Davies said.

“In addition to the on-ground investigations, I am pleased to also announce work has begun on a comprehensive information package covering the region’s local water resources, soil types, crop suitability and local infrastructure, with information being made available to the community, local growers and potential investors as it becomes available.”

Ms Davies said the departments of Water and Agriculture and Food would collaborate on the information package for release by mid-2018.

To assist existing growers and guide prospective investors in the region, a flow of technical information is expected to start in May 2016 and conclude in December 2017.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Royalties for Regions investment in the Water for Food program was opening up new opportunities for WA’s agricultural sector.

“The program will bring significant long-term benefits to regional communities and contribute to the economic strength of Western Australia,” Mr Redman said.

“This program builds on the Government’s unprecedented investment in the agricultural sector under the $300 million Seizing the Opportunity in Agriculture initiative, which aims to strengthen regional communities where agriculture is a major economic activity.”

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