THE Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has spent $3.4 million carting water in WA since water carting began.
According to DWER, while water carting to all water deficiency declared areas has been temporarily suspended, depending on the availability of on-farm and off-farm water sources for livestock, carting may need to resume to some areas in coming weeks.
A total of 11 water deficiencies remain in place for the Shires of Ravensthorpe (Mount Short and West River area), Lake Grace (in the Mallee Hill area and Ardler Road area), Kent (Hollands Rock and Hamilton), Jerramungup (North Jerramungup), Esperance (Grass Patch, Salmon Gums and Cascade) and Dumbleyung (Kukerin).
A DWER spokesperson said "the department continues to communicate directly with farmers registered in the declared areas and has sent dry season surveys to all farmers in areas experiencing below average rainfall".
"No further requests for Water Deficiency Declarations are expected at this time, as off-farm water supplies, including scheme standpipes, are currently meeting emergency livestock water demands," the spokesperson said.
"Due to the uncertainty of the coming summer rainfall, the department will continue to monitor the situation closely with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and communicate with farmers and shires.
"The department will continue to provide updates on the status and availability of off-farm water supplies through shires' social media, newsletters and communication channels.
"The department is also further developing and upgrading non-potable community water supplies in priority areas."
Since water carting started the total cost of carting non-potable water to water deficiency declared areas has been $3,412,550.
The State government has announced a further $915,902 in grants for community water projects in dryland agricultural areas to help regional communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Water Minister Dave Kelly said that the government had partnered with a further nine local governments through the Community Water Supply Program in 2020-21, assisting the nine local governments to deliver 10 projects that would improve their emergency community water capacity and reduce their future use of scheme water.
The shires of Merredin, Mukinbudin, Wyalkatchem (two projects), Chapman Valley, Toodyay, Jerramungup, Plantagenet, Gnowangerup and Lake Grace have all received grants to undertake works, including improving the stormwater reuse network, new pump, pipe and tank facilities and the re-alignment of catchment channels.
The State government's Community Water Supply Program operates in dryland agricultural areas of the State that receive less than 600 millimetres annual rainfall and are vulnerable to water shortages.
The program, which has already funded $541,512 for seven regional projects, provides a maximum of $100,000 per project for local government and community groups to develop off-farm community water supplies.
This funding supports the development of new water catchments and dams, improvements to existing surface water catchments and storage dams, tank installation and development of groundwater resources to provide sustainable, fit-for-purpose water supplies which are made available to local communities, especially during dry seasons.
Mr Kelly said the design for many of these projects was aimed at taking full advantage of stormwater runoff, including from extreme summer rainfall events predicted as a result of climate change.
"These projects will harvest this water and use it to increase water supply security for dryland towns and communities," Mr Kelly said.
"This will also provide an alternative water source for emergency livestock and community use, reducing the demand on valuable town scheme water supplies at standpipes."