Soil study reveals agriculture potential
■ Commercial-scale agriculture could be a possibility at 10 new soil parcels identified by the Department of Water in the Pilbara.
Water Minister Mia Davies announced the department had received positive results for irrigated agriculture from a GHD study into soil profiles in the region at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference.
Ms Davies said one location with potential for irrigated agriculture was identified near Newman.
“(GHD) looked at the soil profile of the areas and they looked at the proximity to water and the fact that the mines there are already operating below the water table ,so you know you have a consistent amount of dewater coming,” she said.
“Where you have solid soil profiles alongside a good water source there is the opportunity for good agriculture.
“If we can create horticulture precincts alongside major population centres, you’re starting to talk about jobs in addition to those directly related to the project.”
Ms Davies said it was important to ensure through all the water projects currently being undertaken that an appropriate level of water was left in the ground to sustain the environment.
Pastoralists and Graziers Association President Tony Seabrook said it was encouraging to see the State Government looking into irrigated agriculture.
“Most pastoralists are money motivated,” he said.
“They will have their eyes and ears open and will be in it at a million miles an hour if it works.”
Minderoo Foundation chief executive Nicola Forrest said investment into irrigated agriculture could enable pastoralists to dramatically increase their herd sizes.
The CEDA conference at the Karratha Leisureplex.