O’Connor MP Rick Wilson has penned a letter to the Federal Government urging it to remain committed to funding water security projects in the lower South West after the contentious Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme was officially scrapped. The Federal Government had previously promised $39.7 million towards the scheme, which the State Government recently announced it would no longer proceed with because of outdated water modelling, with a separate water security plan now currently in the works. In the letter obtained by the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Mr Wilson urged Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek to keep the $39.7m committed to the SFIS by the previous Federal Coalition government for other water-efficiency projects for the agricultural sector in the lower South West. “The Southern Forests district is a major food bowl of Western Australia where water security is now a major issue,” the letter states. “As the Federal Member for an electorate that encompasses the Southern Forests, I trust you will look favourably upon my request that the Commonwealth quarantine funding for water security measures for farms in the Southern Forests.” The State Government scrapped the SFIS after modelling conducted earlier this year suggested the scheme was no longer viable, which threw the multi-million-dollar project into doubt. It would have seen water pumped from the Middle Donnelly River to a 15-gigalitre dam at Record Brook and then distributed through more than 250km of pipelines to about 100 farmers between Manjimup and Pemberton. She said the State Government has pledged the remaining $16m to water security in the region and urges the Federal Government to do the same. The Times spoke with Mr Wilson shortly after the State Government’s announcement, who said that it’s time for WA to get their share of Federal funding to ensure water security across the State. Mr Wilson said it is a shame Ms MacTiernan had “taken so long” to arrive at a decision on the SFIS. “Federal funding was secured in April 2019,” he said. “It has been a long and arduous process.” Mr Wilson said traditionally the Federal Government had not been big supporters of building dams and ensuring water supply, which concerned him. “The $40m should be made available for initiatives that come out of the reference group,” he said. Mr Wilson said Federal funding should include farm infrastructure to increase water use efficiency in the region.