The WA Government will turn on the tap to irrigated agricultural development in the Pilbara, with a $5.9 million project to lay the foundations for new businesses and jobs.
The Transforming Agriculture in the Pilbara (TAP) project will ground-truth soil and water resources in the region for potential horticulture, fodder and field crop production for a range of development sizes.
The project will build on the recently completed Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative, which identified more than 10 areas with prospective land and water resources, including De Grey River, Shaw River, Oakover River, Robe River and Newman areas.
Initial findings have identified a potential water supply in the Pilbara of at least 100 gigalitres, which if verified, equates to up to 12,000 hectares of irrigated land to add to the region’s current fledgling industry of 2,750 hectares.
The three-year project will establish test production bores to assess water supply, quality and sustainability, as well as soil surveys to identify suitable areas for agricultural production.
The project will work in partnership with industry on prospective irrigation systems research activities to optimise productivity from suitable land and water resources.
TAP will also investigate the potential for commercial production of native foods for premium markets, including Split Jack, native pear and northern sandalwood.
Source: WA Government