Water Deficiency And Our Community

Published on Wednesday, 20 March 2024 at 11:58:56 AM

A declaration of water deficiency is a coordinated process, requiring many people and organisations to work together.

A group of five or more farmers within a radius of 20km must require water for livestock from an off-farm source, and have to travel more than 40km from their farm to get the water. The local government involved will make a formal request to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) Rural Water Planning branch for the water deficiency process to begin. DWER then consult with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and they will then go to the Minister for Water with a recommendation to declare that area water deficient.

At this time Salmon Gums and Grass Patch have been declared water deficient.

This declaration triggers water carting by the Water Corporation, for livestock use only to a central location. Many farmers and lifestyle property owners have a sufficient supply of water for their household (washing, toilets etc) needs, however when a water deficiency is imposed, water for the home is often scarce as well.

The Shire of Esperance works to make our towns drought resistant in the following ways:

  • Community Water Supply - Cascade and Scaddan both received 2 x 375KL capacity tanks in 2022 – that’s 375,000 litres each, installed by the Shire! Another two tanks will soon go up for use by the Grass Patch community, after native vegetation clearing permits were finally approved by DWER.
  • Bore Water Standpipes – The Shire is investigating suitable locations for additional bore water standpipes. These pipes will be monitored, with the water available for Community Water Supply.
  • Infrastructure Maintenance – Community Water Supply points at Howick, Scaddan and Cascade are maintained by the Shire. This important resource provides a vital lifeline to our regional communities during water deficiency.
  • Funding and Collaboration – The Shire is proud to collaborate with grower group SEPWA, to explore the benefits and feasibility of using cost-effective materials such as secondhand CBH tarps to line dam catchments, boosting on-farm water harvest and storage. Funding through the Community Annual Grants Fund is also available for projects that aid community development and supports capital upgrades, improvements and development of community services and facilities.
  • Advocacy – Senior Shire staff and Council represent the community to State and Federal Government and other agencies on key issues. The Shire takes every opportunity to advocate for the best outcome for our community.

With recent light rains in the area, it’s hoped more is on the way and our communities will have all the water they need soon. In the meantime, the Shire will keep working with farmers and state government organisations to get the best possible results for our region.

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