WATER Minister Dave Kelly this morning has declared a water deficiency for the Mallee Hill area in the Shire of Lake Grace, and announced the State government would start carting water to provide farmers with emergency water for livestock.
The official declaration follows an application from the Shire on behalf of seven farmers in the Mallee Hill area.
A declaration is made as a last resort after continued hot and dry conditions due to climate change have depleted onfarm and State government managed community water supplies.
The declaration will see the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) cart an estimated 350 kilolitres of water each week to a central storage location, reducing the distance farmers must travel to source emergency livestock water.
Water will be sourced from the Water Corporation's Great Southern Towns Water Supply Scheme, as well as the old Kukerin town water supply dam.
Initially the water will be delivered to a tank in the vicinity of Tommy's Dam where it will be available for farmers to access.
DWER is liaising with local government authorities and farmers in other dryland areas to monitor their on-farm water storage and water requirements, and encourages Community Water Supply Program grant applications in areas of need.
Water carting arrangements are being managed by DWER with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Water Corporation.
This is the second water deficiency to be declared this year.
Last week Mr Kelly declared a water deficiency for Mount Short in the Shire of Ravensthorpe and water carting has commenced.
"Climate change has impacted rainfall across the south-west of WA. In particular, last winter there was very low rainfall and no follow-up summer rainfall in the mid-northern region of the Shire of Lake Grace," Mr Kelly said.
"As a result, onfarm water supplies and strategic community water supplies are now depleted.
"To protect animal welfare in the area, the government will cart water to a central storage point.
This will reduce the distance affected farmers have to travel to access water."