Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia
In 2008, the Ord Stage 2 or ‘Ord East Kimberley Expansion Project’ was initiated by the Western Australian Government. The goal of the project was to advance development in the East Kimberley and to bring to market the Weaber Plain (Goomig Farmlands) and Knox Plain. In addition to the existing Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) Stage 1 (14 000ha), current Goomig and proposed Knox Plain areas (14 300ha), an estimated 50 000ha of land has potential for irrigation in the region.
One of the areas proposed for future development is the Mantinea Development area. It is located on the south bank of the Ord River, 30km from Kununurra. It is north-west of the existing ORIA, which is located on the Ivanhoe and Packsaddle plains, and south-west of the most recent Stage 2 Goomig Farmlands, released in 2012.
For the Mantinea Development, the state government is seeking a proponent from the private sector to manage the development process and operate the new farmlands created. The potential development area covers about 9500ha, 430ha of which has been set aside in the Mantinea conservation excision.
To support the development process, DAFWA has reviewed relevant soil and water data and undertaken a preliminary assessment of that information.
The Mantinea Flat – Carlton Plain area was identified as potentially suitable for irrigated agriculture by the Department of Agriculture and CSIRO as early as 1944, following soil surveys of about 12 000ha in the area.
Preliminary soil survey results show that the soils of the proposed development area comprise a mixture of modern alluvial sediments, from fine cracking clays (1500ha, 17%) to sands and loams (6600ha, 73%), and stony soils (800ha, 10%). From this limited data, 4796ha (53%) of the proposed development area has a potentially high capability for irrigated agriculture, 2876ha (32%) is potentially capable but requires further investigation, and 1395ha (15%) of the area has a low capability. Areas assessed as having low capability for irrigated agriculture predominantly have salinity risk, poor drainage, shallow basement or unsuitable soil types.
Number of Pages
Ord East Kimberley, Goomig Farmlands, Mantinea Development area, capability assessment, soil and groundwater assessment, irrigated agriculture
Raper, GP, George, RJ and Schoknecht, N 2015, ‘Preliminary soil and groundwater assessment of the Mantinea Development area, East Kimberley, Western Australia’, Resource management technical report 389, Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Perth.
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