WAFarmers water portfolio spokesman Steve Dilley said rural people were becoming more convinced that what Perth wanted, it got ‹ regardless of the ramifications to rural and regional areas.
Mr Dilley said while South-West residents had felt a sense of ownership over the Yarragadee water supply, they were genui-nely concerned for their future water supplies.
³The South-West is growing so rapidly that it is likely we will need some of the Yarragadee water to be back in the South-West after the Perth connection goes ahead,² he said.
³The Water Corporation has not planned far enough ahead for the effects of climate change and drier winters on its decision to tap the Yarragadee for Perth.
³Our drying climate and less winter run-off means less water in catchment dams, which pre-sents major problems for water users beyond the metropolitan area.²
The EPA has provided advice and recommendations to the En-vironment Minister on the Water Corporation¹s proposed 45gL a year borefield near Jarrahwood and treatment plant and pipe to link Yarragadee water into the metropolitan Integrated Water Supply Scheme.
The EPA assessment analysed issues including climate change and the likely impacts on ground-water-dependent ecosystems.
The authority estimates that the Yarragadee aquifer stores more than one million gigalitres, but the aquifer¹s replenishment rate of about 150gL a year is low compared to its large storage.
An extraction limit of 120gL a year applies to the aquifer and about 45gL is already being used each year with another 45gL allocated but unused.
³Farmers dependent on the Yarragadee for irrigated agricul-ture may have major issues in future if they want to expand their operations,² Mr Dilley said.
He said horticulturists and producers using Leederville aquifer supplies were also at risk from the Yarragadee proposal because the Leederville aquifer sat above the Yarragadee.
EPA chairman Wally Cox said the authority recommended tough conditions to ensure environmental risks were minimised.
³While the aquifer has a large amount of water in storage, abstraction will need to be limited to sustain the significant environmental systems which could be at risk from the implementation of the proposal,² Dr Cox said.
³Site-specific mitigation and management plans for the Blackwood River, St John Brook, Milyeannup Brook, Poison Gully and Rosa Brook will also be needed.²
The EPA report is subject to appeal until the close of business on December 22 and is available at www.epa.wa.gov.au
The final decision will be made by the Environment Minister after consultation with other decision-making authorities such as the Water Department.