Dry season farmer survey to help plan for water demand

Media release
Broadacre farmers across low rainfall regions of Western Australia are encouraged to take an online survey to help State Government agencies plan for the dry season.
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The short survey gives farmers an opportunity to provide information on their projected summer livestock numbers and off-farm water carting needs.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) Director General Mike Rowe said this was one way farmers could help government agencies better forecast livestock water demand over the summer months.

“We have been liaising closely with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Water Corporation and local shires regarding how we monitor on-farm water supplies,” Mr Rowe said.

“This survey is another tool we can use to help us gather an accurate picture of demand and identify vulnerable shires.”

Mr Rowe said much of the dryland agricultural area has experienced successive winter rainfalls well below average.

“While we still see variation from year to year, the impact of climate change means that lower rainfall years are becoming more frequent in this region,” he said.

“This has put pressure on farm livestock water supplies and contributed to the declaration of three water deficient shires earlier in 2019.

“By gathering as much information about on-farm water supplies, we can better monitor community supplies and respond if needed.”

A network of strategic community water supplies are located across Western Australia's dryland agricultural areas to provide an important source of emergency stock water during dry seasons.

“These water supplies are for emergency use at times when low rainfall causes on-farm supplies to fail and farmers are forced to travel outside their farm gate to collect water for livestock and other essential farming purposes,” Mr Rowe said.

“It is important that these water supplies are carefully managed to ensure water is available during times of emergency.”

DWER, DPIRD and the Water Corporation will continue to work closely with shires and rural communities impacted by low rainfall due to climate change and monitor on-farm water storage and water requirements.

Farmers were encouraged to complete the survey by the end of October.