Irrigated agriculture accounts for approximately 35 per cent of all licensed water use across Western Australia and provides much of the meat, fruit and vegetables we eat.
The production of fruit and vegetables is the largest component of the irrigated agriculture sector, along with dairy and beef pastures, nurseries and turf farms. These sectors combine to create a multi-billion dollar export industry, which is the lifeblood of many regional towns and communities, employing tens of thousands of workers across the State.
Unlike grain crops, which rely on seasonal rainfall, the irrigated agriculture sector needs water on demand to be profitable. This water is generally supplied as groundwater or surface water under licence although there are some groups in unproclaimed areas that operate without licenses.
Many irrigators get their water from licensed irrigation cooperatives in the state's four irrigation districts.
The Department of Water helps the industry in a number of ways and is actively engaged in promoting efficiency gains, water quality improvements and exploring new sources of water.