Water Journal : Water Journal November 2015
NOVEMBER 2015 WATER DAFWA met with the traditional owners of the land at Woodie Woodie, the local Njamal people, to discuss the project. An Aboriginal heritage survey was carried out at the site and a number of small artefacts were identi ed. As a result, the area in which these artefacts were found could be avoided during the construction of the pilot site. Resource giant Rio Tinto is also using about 20 gigalitres of mine dewater from its Marandoo iron-ore mine to run 17 centre pivots across 800ha near Tom Price, as part of its water management strategy for the mine. NORTHERN BEEF FUTURES PROJECT The Woodie Woodie pilot will also complement DAFWA's $15 million Northern Beef Futures (NBF) Royalties for Regions project, designed to transform the State's northern beef industry by improving markets, businesses and productivity. One hectare of the Woodie Woodie trial site has been shared with the NBF, as part of its Mosaic Agriculture sub-project, to assess the potential for selected grass, fodder crops and legume pastures to persist and/or spread. This data will provide evidence for a new weed risk assessment process being developed for the WA rangelands. PILBARA HINTERLAND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (PHADI) OVERVIEW The Woodie Woodie pilot is one part of the overall PHADI project, which will assess the potential of irrigated agriculture in the Pilbara using surplus mine dewater and other in-situ water resources such as groundwater and surface water, to create economic diversi cation and investment opportunities in the region. PHADI will provide new knowledge -- backed by scienti c research -- which government, industry, investors and the community can use as a planning and investment decision-support tool. Research into agronomics, regulatory issues, supply chain and market opportunities, economic viability, stakeholder aspirations for development and an assessment of soil and water resources in the Pilbara, are all part of the program of work planned for the project. Investigations will consider sustainable natural resource use with respect for country, culture and economic development. Project ndings will be packaged in a suite of online user-friendly, information products, and extended to clients through project consultation, updates and events. The results from the Woodie Woodie trial will be invaluable as they will provide validated research ndings to improve understanding of the feasibility and viability of irrigated agriculture in the Pilbara. SUSTAINABLE FUTURE The Pilbara -- one of Australia's most resource-rich regions -- is well known for its iron-ore industry and contribution to strong state and national economies. Research at the Woodie Woodie pilot is transformational as it is increasingly recognised that irrigated agriculture has the potential to expand the economic base of the Pilbara and attract major capital investment to the region and the state. However, this potential needs to be better understood. This project will put the science behind innovation, and produce a package of valuable information that pastoralists and developers can use to turn the irrigation opportunity into reality. It could also pave the way for alternative income streams, such as biofuels and horticulture crops, which, together with the stockfeed, would also assist pastoral businesses to endure drought conditions. The Woodie Woodie and PHADI projects will conclude in 2017. WJ THE AUTHORS Dr Chris Schelfhout (email: chris.schelfhout@ agric.wa.gov.au) has been Project Manager of the Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative for the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, since early 2014. During his eight years with the department, he has been stationed at a number of regional locations across WA and was previously Project Manager of DAFWA's Carnarvon horticultural research site in the Gascoyne. Megan Broad (email: firstname.lastname@example.org. gov.au) has been a rural journalist for 25 years. She started her career as a rural reporter with ABC Radio, serving in Geraldton, Karratha and Perth with Country Hour, then worked for the Rural Press paper Farm Weekly. She began her rst 'tour of duty' with the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA in 2000 as a media liaison of cer before 'retiring' to start a family. She returned to DAFWA in 2007. Woodie Woodie mine dewater discharge.
Water Journal September 2015
Current Feb 2016