Trial to test improved access to Warren Donnelly irrigation water
Released 21 Mar 2013
The Department of Water is calling for irrigators in the Upper Lefroy catchment to join a unique trial designed to help farmers access additional water during high rainfall years.
The 'variable take' trial in the Warren Donnelly region explores how irrigation water in periods of high rainfall and streamflow can be captured and stored for future use.
The trial, now in its second year, is overseen by the Department of Water in collaboration with the Warren Donnelly Water Advisory Committee and participating local irrigators. It is scheduled to run for three years, depending on rainfall patterns.
"Last year we investigated a number of aspects of the trial but the dry winter meant we were unable to test how additional take – above what is needed to meet all licensed entitlements and to maintain the environment – can be captured, measured and monitored," Department of Water Warren Blackwood District Manager Felicity Bunny said.
"The 'variable take' trial looks at ways of making the most of water that falls in wetter years and how a variable take approach can be used to improve access to water.
"We're calling for more local irrigators to become involved in the next two years of the trial to help us get the water information we need to assess this new approach."
The trial proposes a two-tier annual water entitlement. The first tier sees water licensed under a high reliability allocation limit, while the 'general reliability' second tier begins when dams are full and flows are above a minimum threshold.
Farmers will be able to capture 'general reliability' water in a wet year, and may choose to use it that year or bank it and drought proof their business for any future dry year.
Local irrigators are already supporting the department's trial.
"The trial aims to develop a system where our current licensed entitlements are secure and we can access additional water in times of plenty," local irrigator Harvey Giblett said.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441