Water users call for a moratorium
A petition concerning issues faced by local self-supply irrigators will be presented to WA Parliament in the coming weeks after it was presented to the opposition Water Minister from a group of concerned water users last week.
As part of local farmers’ ongoing efforts to address and reverse water licence allocation restrictions, a group met with opposition Water Minister Dr David Honey and South West MLC Dr Steve Thomas in Manjimup on Thursday.
The 338-signature petition requests a moratorium is put on the proposed Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme until Department of Water and Environmental Regulation research and data has been independently scrutiwater nised, landholders consulted and there is an independent assessment into the economic impact that the scheme will have on farmers from the affected Donnelly River sub-catchments.
West Manjimup potato and beef cattle grower Andrew Tempra said he felt Thursday’s meeting went well and Dr Honey and Dr Thomas understood where the concerned growers were coming from.
“I hope they see the concerns of existing self-supply water users and see the negative impacts proposed licensing issues like the fees and charges would have,” he said.
In addition to Thursday’s meeting and a meeting with Department of Water and Environmental Regulation representatives in Bunbury last month, Mr Tempra said self-supply users would continue fighting for their water rights.
“We will be following up with the Manjimup Shire Council, wait to see how the petition goes and we’re also waiting to see how the DWER research pans out,” he said. Mr Tempra added it was soon heading into the dry season and water would be valuable.
Dr Thomas said he was looking for a way to have the scheme project continue while those not directly involved would not be negatively affected.
“I don’t like that we’re being put at war with each other in the Manjimup area,” he said. “Based on their data, if DWER say there’s no water available, I’m of the opinion it needs to be looked at by an independent body. But I want to give the Department a chance to be scientific before we go down that path.”