Water review must recognise agriculture

The McGowan Government says new legislation will allow better management of the Gnangara mound. Picture: Anita McInnes

ANY review of water management of the Gnangara mound must give due recognition to the importance of the water resource to the agricultural industries in the area, according to the state Opposition.

On Thursday, August 22 the McGowan Government announced it was consolidating six Acts into a single Water Resources Management Act.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said a streamlined regulatory approach would ensure efficient use and sustainable management of shared water resources.

Mr Kelly said the new legislation would provide tools to manage high use water resources that were being affected by climate change such as Perth’s main Gnangara groundwater system and WA’s south-west.

It would also provide for new and innovative ways of using water such as managed aquifer recharge and geothermal technology.

“This legislation will allow us to better manage WA’s water resources that are being impacted by climate change and provide secure water supplies for future generations,’’ he said.

“Access to water underpins many WA industries, which in turn supports our economy and WA jobs.

“Water legislative reform has been more than a decade in the making and is strongly supported by industry, water users and the community alike.”

Opposition Water spokesman David Honey said market gardens which relied on water from the Gnangara mound supply the Perth metropolitan area with a significant proportion of their fresh fruit and vegetables and any moves to increase the cost of that water would significantly impact the price of fresh produce in Perth.

“In addition to managing existing water resources, the McGowan Government must continue to explore new and sustainable supplies to meet the state’s growing population,’’ he said.