FARMERS in the Shire of Esperance are rejoicing at the prospect of having enough water onfarm for their livestock operations.
A water deficiency was declared for Grass Patch and Salmon Gums on March 1 and water carting arrangements put in place, but after just two months and more than 100 millimetres of rain, those arrangements were suspended on May 6.
While the deficiency itself remains in place, water no longer needing to be delivered to established tanks at the Salmon Gums quarry dam and two portable tanks in Grass Patch was a positive sign for farmers, especially heading into winter and the likelihood of more rain.
Salmon Gums farmer Tim Starcevich sold his Merinos in February last year as there wasn't enough water, so heading into 2022 he only had 150 sheep left onfarm.
"It was incredibly dry here over summer - we went about 90 days without a single drop of rain, including nothing in December or January and only 10mm for February," Mr Starcevich said.
"We ended up getting a couple of loads of water out of Esperance for the sheep we do have left and after the deficiency was declared we got a couple of loads from the Salmon Gums carting.
"It was lucky that we received rain in April and we've had over 100mm since the deficiency was declared, so there's now no need to cart water as we have enough onfarm."
According to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), since the beginning of March, 2016 kilolitres had been carted to Salmon Gums and 882 kilolitres to Grass Patch, with a total of 20 farmers included in the initial deficiency declaration.
A spokesman for DWER said revoking the deficiency in its entirety would happen if continued rainfall over the coming weeks was enough to ensure run-off to fill onfarm dams to satisfy livestock drinking water for the coming months.
"The Department is continuously communicating with farmers and monitoring rainfall and runoff into dams in the area," the spokesman said.
"Water carting would recommence only if conditions became dry with minimal run-off into onfarm dams to sustain livestock drinking water needs."
The water deficiency for Grass Patch and Salmon Gums is currently the only one in place, with all other areas in the dryland agricultural region having received sufficient rainfall.
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