Southern Forests, Western Australia – an economic assessment for expanded irrigation

Page last updated: Monday, 25 July 2022 - 2:09pm

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The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development was a partner in the Southern Forests Water Futures Water for Food project to identify new water supply options and improve water use efficiency in the Warren–Donnelly catchments. The project aimed to identify viable water supply schemes, which could incorporate community dams with related infrastructure, to support expanded agricultural activity.

Our role in the Southern Forests project

The economic analysis:

  • reviewed current and past irrigated industries in the Warren–Donnelly catchments to determine the broad characteristics that define a successful irrigated industry
  • identified the most prospective horticultural industries to use an additional 6 gigalitres of water in the Warren–Donnelly catchments
  • assessed the profitability of industries using the additional water, which could either expand into export markets or replace imported products.

Other partners in the project developed governance and financial models for ongoing management of a potential scheme.

The Western Australian Governmentfunded the project through the Royalties for Regions initiative.

How much more money could be generated by expanding horticulture with new water?

We estimated that $20.4 million to $27.6 million could be added to the economy of south-west Western Australia every year from using an additional 6 gigalitres of water for targeted horticultural expansion.

For more information about this economic analysis, download Bulletin 4872 Comparative assessment of crops to use potential additional water resources in the Warren–Donnelly catchments.