Publication Date

4-2013

Series Number

386

Abstract

High quality agricultural land (HQAL) integrates existing data on soils, land capability, water resources and rainfall into the planning process. The approach generates a series of maps and accompanying tables which depict and characterise agricultural land in a way that planners and investors can readily understand. Outputs include detailed maps and tables showing a region's potential for broadacre and irrigated agriculture.

Number of Pages

226

Keywords

Planning, agriculture. land capability, land resources, ground water

Comments

NOTE: Since the publication of RMTR 386 in 2013, new and more detailed data on the groundwater resources in the south of the Geraldton planning region has become available. Much of this data is contained in a report titled “Northern Perth Basin: Geology, hydrogeology and Groundwater Resources” published by the Department of Water (January 2017).

This new data provides greater detail with regards to aquifer depths and yields and groundwater salinity levels. This new data shows a more restricted area of prospective groundwater supplies than that shown in Figure 3.12 of this report.

These differences mean that the maps showing the potential irrigation resources (Figure 3.21) and irrigated agriculture potential (Figure 3.22) are no longer current and will need to be replaced. This will also impact the Agricultural Land Areas (ALA). Some ALA boundaries in the south may need to be redrawn. Furthermore, the data presented in the ALA information sheets (Section 4.3) will need to be reviewed with regards to groundwater volumes and the potential irrigable area and value of crops. Finally this will impact on the ALA rankings (Section 5).

The most significant change will be for the Irwin Valley ALA. Previously the shown as having the largest volumes of potential groundwater, current mapping suggests that this ALA has no groundwater of suitable quality. While still highly ranked for broadacre agriculture, this ALA should now be considered unsuited to irrigated agriculture. In fact, development of irrigated agriculture in this ALA could lead to a decline in its broadacre productivity through the accumulation of salt.

The ALAs in this region are currently under review and updated boundaries and accompanying information for the Geraldton Planning Region will be made available with the release of HQAL mapping for the Midlands.

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