Declaration of end of unrestricted pumping for Gascoyne River irrigators
Released 01 Apr 2014
The Department of Water has today announced the end of unrestricted pumping from the River Bed Sand aquifer of the Carnarvon horticultural area.
Mid West Gascoyne District Manager Troy Sinclair said under the Lower Gascoyne water allocation plan, unrestricted pumping ceases at the end of the month when the river stops flowing, and normal water licence conditions will apply from today.
"Unrestricted pumping from the River Bed Sand aquifer has provided a good start to irrigators for the 2014 season following a long period of low water availability," Mr Sinclair said.
"This flow of the Gascoyne River started on the 2 February following rains earlier this year, and although the river stopped flowing on March 11, we allowed unrestricted pumping until the end of the month.
"The department estimates the industry has been able to take approximately 1GL of water above their licensed entitlements in the past two months.
"This use of the aquifer by irrigators not only benefits horticultural production, but assists in the replenishment of the groundwater system by creating conditions that draw fresher water into the aquifers from the river."
Mr Sinclair said the department has reminded growers that groundwater licence conditions would apply to water taken from 1 April 2014. This includes a maximum take of 10,000kL/month and maximum water salinity of 1000mg/l total dissolved solids (TDS).
He said although the recent river flow had improved the area's irrigation water availability, the department and the Carnarvon Ministerial Advisory Committee were continuing to assess the impact of the flow on the region's water resources.
"The department is finalising the March aquifer status report which will provide an indication of how the river flow has benefitted the groundwater used by the horticultural industry," he said.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441