Water warning

26 Feb, 2009 03:00 AM
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Jurien farmers Rodney Ward (left), and David Kent are warning WA farmers to look into the State Government's Water Source Protection Plan.
Jurien farmers Rodney Ward (left), and David Kent are warning WA farmers to look into the State Government's Water Source Protection Plan.

A GROUP of Jurien farmers have sent out a warning to farmers across WA - be wary of the State Government's Water Source Protection Plan.

The farmers, Rodney Ward, David Kent, Craig Underwood and Noel and John Grigson, said the Water Protection Plan has the potential to see them farming under license to the Department of Water: and with up to 140 of these plans to be implemented across the State in the future, the group has warned other farmers who may be affected to look into the details of the plan sooner rather than later.

The Department of Water said it is looking to implement the plans to minimise or manage risks of contamination to underground water sources.

In its report on Jurien's water source, it said catchment protection is the first barrier against contamination, with subsequent barriers implemented at the water storage, treatment and distribution stages of a water supply chain.

"Catchment protection requires an understanding of the catchment, the hazards and hazardous events that can compromise drinking water quality, and requires the development of preventative strategies and operational controls to ensure the safest possible water supply to consumers," the report said.

Under the plan priority zonings are placed on land that covers catchment areas: P1 being the highest risk, then P2 and P3. Under a P1 zoning, any form of agricultural practice, except pastoral leases, is deemed incompatible. Under a P2 zoning, agricultural practices such as stock grazing and broadacre cropping are compatible but with conditions.

Mr Ward said areas of his farm under the zoning were up to 19-20km away from the borefield, yet restrictions would still apply.

"Under the plan, I would have a P2 zoning placed over nearly half of my 3000 hectare property," Mr Ward said.

"My biggest concern is what this zoning does to the value of my land.

"I have been here since 1964, this farm is my superannuation. If I ever go to sell it in the future these conditions will devalue it.

"Farming is getting hard enough without these added restrictions."

Mr Ward said he had attended a meeting with Water Minister Graeme Jacobs in Jurien two weeks ago.

"The Minister didn't seem to comprehend what the restrictions would mean to farmers," he said.

"He thinks a P2 zoning would not affect what we are doing, but it will.

"It certainly affects the value of my property and the way I farm it.

Read full story in this week's Farm Weekly.

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