Water deficiency declared

Dry autumn: The state government has agreed to cart water to Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe after low rainfall resulted in water supply shortages for livestock.
Dry autumn: The state government has agreed to cart water to Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe after low rainfall resulted in water supply shortages for livestock.

The state government has started carting water to farmers in the state's south this week after Water Minister Dave Kelly declared water deficiencies in the region.

Mr Kelly declared a water deficiency for Mallee Hill in the Shire of Lake Grace on Wednesday, May 15, after receiving an application for assistance from the local government on behalf of seven farmers.

With support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Water Corporation, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is now expected to cart about 350 kilolitres of water each week from May 16.

In order for a water deficiency declaration to be granted, five or more farmers must be travelling more than 40 kilometres to access water for livestock.

The declaration is the second to be made in less than a fortnight, with the state government also agreeing to transport water to Mount Short in the Shire of Ravensthorpe on May 6.

Record low rainfall in the region has resulted in livestock water supply shortages, forcing farmers to draw from off-farm supplies.

Mr Kelly said the state government had been working closely with communities impacted by climate change and would continue to explore alternate water source arrangements.

"Climate change has impacted rainfall across the south-west of WA," he said.

"In particular, last winter there was very low rainfall and no follow-up summer rainfall in the mid-northern region of the Shire of Lake Grace and the Shire of Ravensthorpe.

"As a result, on-farm water supplies and strategic community water supplies are now depleted.

"To protect animal welfare in the area, the government will cart water to a central storage point.

"This will reduce the distance affected farmers have to travel to access water.

"The state government is also working closely with other rural communities impacted by climate change to identify new water source opportunities and to ensure access to existing supplies."