Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has identified priority areas in the Pilbara that warrant further investigation into their capacity for irrigated agriculture and related businesses. The De Grey River area is one of these.
The lower De Grey River area, upstream of the De Grey River Water Reserve, was identified by the Transforming Agriculture in the Pilbara (TAP) project for staged investigations of viability. Progression through these stages, each with increasingly detailed groundwater and soil suitability investigations, is dependent on prospectivity.
This document provides a summary of DPIRD’s initial desktop groundwater evaluation in the lower De Grey River area. It uses existing information on groundwater depth, quality and yield to indicate the prospectivity for sustainable groundwater abstraction for irrigation.
While there are isolated areas of groundwater with suitable quality in the evaluation area, these seem unlikely to provide sufficient supply for even a moderately sized irrigated agriculture enterprise. Further groundwater investigations could be undertaken, but combined with the low likelihood of finding a significant fresh groundwater resource, we believe this would represent an uncertain investment at a significant cost.
Given the relatively high reliability of river flows, further investigations could instead focus on the feasibility of off-stream capture and storage of floodwaters into retention basins for irrigation.
Number of Pages
groundwater, irrigated agriculture, De Grey River, Pilbara
Bennett D and Simons J (2021) ‘Desktop review of groundwater prospectivity for irrigation in the lower De Grey River area’, Resource management technical report 424, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australian Government.
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