Southern Forests launch water sales
Western Australia’s Southern Forests region is one of the most significant horticultural areas in the state, and looks to significantly expand with the launch of the water sales process as part of the Water for Food Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.
The launch of water sales for the new irrigation scheme was held on Saturday 9 December at the Southern Forests Food Council in Pemberton and was attended by a range of local stakeholders, including Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
The Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme will improve water storage and distribution through a new dam, pipeline and pumping infrastructure, allowing for the movement and trading of water between growers in the Pemberton and Manjimup region.
The Scheme will provide a 15GL off-stream storage dam will be constructed on Record Brook to provide a new secure and reliable water source for Manjimup and Pemberton growers which could open up to 1,700 hectares of new farming land.
Speaking at the launch, Ms MacTiernan said the overwhelming response from landholders and irrigators keen to participate in the proposed irrigation Scheme that was received in 2016 provided information essential to bolster the project.
“Today the project has reached a milestone where growers are now able to financially commit to the project and sign an agreement to ensure the project can move forward” Minister MacTiernan said.
All infrastructure within the Scheme will be owned and operated by the region’s growers through the Southern Forests Irrigation Co-operative, signalling a collaborative effort between industry and the State Government.
Led by the Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative, the water sales process is set to close on 28 February 2018 and is expected to raise a grower contribution of around $10–12 million.
Two briefing workshops will be held in February to discuss the scheme in detail with interested growers and provide an opportunity for one on one consultations. Tasmanian farmer Colin Houston will be a key speaker at each of the sessions discussing his experiences with a similar concept in Tasmania.
For more information on the workshops, or the water sales, please visit the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme project page.