The Department of Agriculture and Food is playing a vital role assisting agricultural expansion in the Ord River Irrigation Area in the State’s far north.
A three year assessment of soil, groundwater and surface hydrology has been completed to ensure sustainable and profitable development in the Stage 2 Ord-East Kimberley Expansion project.
Project data provided crucial evidence to support the State Government’s recent land release decisions.
In November, it was announced the Kimberley Agricultural Investment company would develop 13,400 hectares into irrigated farmland, as part of the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion project.
Department principal research scientist Richard George said the department’s work would underpin long-term sustainability of the irrigation development and support further industry growth.
“This project delivered the science needed to determine which areas would be suitable for irrigated agriculture and how these areas could be developed without impacting on soil, water and environmental assets,” Dr George said.
“The studies recently published in five technical reports have already resulted in improved management systems to reduce potential risks, more effective farmland designs and ensured necessary environmental approvals.”
The department is also now involved in several other collaborative projects supported by funds from Royalties for Regions to expand agricultural production in the north, including assessments of the La Grange aquifer, south of Broome, and several areas of Cockatoo Sands in the East Kimberley.
It is also well advanced to add 400ha to the available land and water for irrigated agriculture as part of the Gascoyne Food Bowl partnership in the Carnarvon area.
The Resource Management Technical Reports 366-370 on the Ord-East Kimberley area can be viewed on the department’s website under agric.wa.gov.au/publications
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937