Water allocations hinge on regulator’s review

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times

Amid concerns about water licence applications for building dams and planning for the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme, the State Government is updating the modelling for the Donnelly River catchment.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation will this month begin updating Donnelly River catchment flows, which will in the coming months lead to updated models, the development of scenario models for objectives and allocations and consultation with the agriculture industry.

Department South West region manager Adam Maskew said the Donnelly River catchment water availability for new licences had been temporarily reduced to allow more planning of the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme and the water studies on the river.

“The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation intends to use the new information from the Water for Food studies in the Donnelly catchment to review and potentially revise the allocation limits in the water allocation plan area,” he said.

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“Any allocation decision will consider security of supply for existing licensees and to the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme, while making appropriate environmental water provisions.

“It will also help us answer the question whether there would be any additional water for additional self-supply take in the Donnelly River sub-areas.”

Allocation limits are set by measuring how much water is in the system and how much can be sustainably used without compromising the environment.

“Climate variability and climate change are also important considerations in setting sustainable limits,” Mr Maskew said.

Following the completion of the water studies, the announcement for an update to water availability will happen in September.

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