Fitzroy River plan bo­nanza

Broome Advertiser - - NEWS - Peter de Krui­jff

The Fitzroy River catch­ment could sup­port 4700 jobs and ben­e­fit from $1.1 bil­lion in an­nual eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, ac­cord­ing to a study by the CSIRO.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion of wa­ter re­sources in the Mitchell catch­ment of Dar­win, Bur­dekin in Queens­land and the Fitzroy was done on be­half of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

For the Kim­ber­ley, the re­port found pump­ing wa­ter out of the catch­ment into ring tanks could sup­port 160,000ha of one dry­sea­son crop per year in 85 per cent of years.

“It is phys­i­cally pos­si­ble to pump 1700GL of wa­ter in 85 per cent of years from ma­jor rivers and trib­u­taries in the Fitzroy catch­ment into ring tanks near agri­cul­tural soils,” the re­port said.

“This vol­ume of wa­ter would fill 425 ring tanks, each of ca­pac­ity 4GL, and cost ap­prox­i­mately $935 mil­lion.

“This would en­able 160,000ha of clay soils un­der dry-sea­son cot­ton to be ir­ri­gated, gen­er­at­ing an an­nual gross value of pro­duc­tion of ap­prox­i­mately $750 mil­lion.”

The re­port said a fur­ther 30,000ha of hay pro­duc­tion could be sup­ported by ground­wa­ter in all years.

Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Emma White wel­comed the re­port, say­ing it would un­der­pin is­sues such as the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the WA Gov­ern­ment’s elec­tion com­mit­ment to cre­ate a Fitzroy River Na­tional Park.

“It’s (the re­port) crit­i­cal to wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion plan­ning work they’ll be do­ing for the Fitzroy catch­ment, but also the over­all land-use man­age­ment and de­vel­op­ment frame­work,” Ms White said.

While the re­port also men­tions the po­ten­tial for dams, or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the KPCA and Shire of Derby-West Kim­ber­ley are in­ter­ested in non-dam-re­lated wa­ter po­ten­tial.

Shire of Wyn­d­ham East Kim­ber­ley pres­i­dent Dave Men­zel said developers could learn from the is­sues faced on the Ord River when it came to the Fitzroy.

“With some good sci­ence be­hind it I’m sure there’s some op­por­tu­nity there, es­pe­cially for tra­di­tional own­ers, to gen­er­ate some eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and work,” he said.

“I think we re­ally se­ri­ously need to look at sci­ence and see if we can’t make some progress in that area.”

A WA Gov­ern­ment spokes­woman said it pro­vided data to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment for the re­port but it was not con­sulted on the fi­nal prod­uct, its find­ings or rec­om­men­da­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.