Oral Presentation Australasian Groundwater Conference 2017

Feasibility of MAR and CWU for irrigation in the Pilbara (#18)

Greg Hoxley 1 , Chris Schelfout 2 , Kate Dowsley 1 , Rick Evans 1 , Richard George 2
  1. Jacobs, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Food and Agriculture, WA, Perth, WA, Australia

The Pilbara region of Northern Australia has good quality groundwater resources associated with alluvial aquifers. These aquifer are not currently used for irrigation in part because of concerns over the long term sustainability of the aquifer. Surface water in the Pilbara is dominated by short, high flow periods. Whilst surface water dam sites can be found, very high evaporation rates coupled with the short flow period make surface water storage unattractive. Groundwater storage has the potential to enable the augmentation of the existing aquifer resources that could boost the available water for irrigation. This study has assessed the feasibility for Managed Aquifer Recharge in five areas in the Pilbara. The irrigation scenario that has been used is to augment beef herd preservation through the use of mosaic irrigation. At two of the five sites the potential to harvest and use water from mine de-watering is also considered. The study has selected a preferred site and a reserve for field studies and detailed evaluation.

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