Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan has promised she will meet with farmers in the lower South West about water security on their properties after a contentious irrigation scheme was all but canned late last year. An independent review of the proposed $80 million Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found the program was not fit for purpose as it was based on incorrect weather forecasts and predicted incorrect water levels. The scheme would have water storage and distribution improved by constructing a new dam, pipeline and infrastructure to allow water to be traded between farms in and near Manjimup. Although farmers believed the program was all but dead after the review, Ms MacTiernan said this week it would be remodelled and she would meet to brief stakeholders and chart the best course forward. A State Government spokesperson said the data surrounding the revised water levels set to be used in the SFIS would be available in the coming weeks. “Last year the State Government commissioned CSIRO to update streamflow estimates for the Donnelly River, following the CSIRO’s independent review of the water modelling for the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme,” they said. “The CSIRO’s peer reviewed report and revised streamflow estimates are expected to be complete in early 2022.” The spokesperson said once the data is available estimates will be made to assess how much water can be used in any future Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme. “Once received, DWER will use CSIRO’s streamflow estimates to assess how much water may be available for use by the proposed Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme,” they said. “This will be done using the model with consideration of the CSIRO results, including any recommendations on water modelling methods.” The spokesperson also said the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development would be working closely with the Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative, the organisation in charge of managing the scheme. “DPIRD is also taking the opportunity to work with the cooperative and other stakeholders to explore other measures to boost water security for growers in the region,” they said. The original SFIS model sought to build a 15 gigalitre dam 3km east of the middle Donnelly River to provide roughly 9.3 gigalitres of water per year to around 100 farmers in the Manjimup and Pemberton area. The scheme would have seen about 250km of piping installed to transfer the water from the proposed Record Brook dam to the various properties in the lower South West.