Water deficiencies have today been declared in the Grass Patch area in the Shire of Esperance and northern part of the Shire of Jerramungup.
The official declaration follows an application from the shires of Esperance and Jerramungup on behalf of 19 farmers in the Jerramungup North area and 12 farmers in the Grass Patch area. A declaration is made as a last resort after continued dry conditions due to climate change have depleted on-farm and State Government managed community water supplies.
The declaration will see the State Government cart water from tomorrow (December 20) from a number of locations including Esperance, Norseman, Tambellup, Bremer Bay and Mount Barker.
Water will be delivered to temporary tanks at the corner of Monash Avenue and Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road in Jerramungup, and to the corner of Grass Patch Road and Coolgardie-Esperance Highway in Grass Patch. This will reduce the distance farmers need to travel to source emergency livestock water.
Due to the vast distances required to cart water under this declaration, farmers benefiting from the declaration are asked to work together to ensure the volume of emergency water taken is shared equitably, and enough is available for everyone to maintain stock welfare.
Water carting arrangements are being managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Water Corporation.
These are the fifth and sixth water deficiencies to be declared in Western Australia this year, as dry conditions continue in the south of the State due to climate change. Water deficiencies have also been declared in the shires of Ravensthorpe, Lake Grace and Kent.
DWER is liaising with local government authorities and farmers in other dryland areas to monitor their on-farm water storage and water requirements, and encourages Community Water Supply Program grant applications in areas of need.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Jerramungup normally receives an average rainfall of more than 430mm a year, so far this year it has only received 263mm.
“This makes it on track to record its third lowest annual rainfall on record. Its second lowest was last year and it’s likely the past 24 months will be the driest two-year period on record.
“Bureau of Meteorology data for Lort River, near Grass Patch, shows it’s tracking to be the driest year on record, and is currently less than half the yearly average.
“While we are committed to providing water to declared areas of water deficiency, it is also critical farming communities work together and support each other to ensure that emergency water is used in a fair, respectful and restrained manner.
“Climate change is having a significant impact on this region, which is why the State Government is working closely with local governments and farmers to bring new water sources online and maintain access to existing supplies.”
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“The welfare of livestock is vital and these water deficiency declarations will help farmers in these affected areas to access emergency livestock water supplies.
“The State Government will continue to work with landholders, the farming sector and local government to support farmers in the agricultural region to best manage dry seasonal conditions.”