Wednesday, 30 November 2016
"The results of this four-year water investigation reveal billions of litres of good quality groundwater that could form reliable water sources to meet regional development needs over the coming decades," Ms Davies said.
"The Department of Water has used a combination of aerial electromagnetic surveys and targeted drilling and sampling, to produce a detailed map that outlines prospective zones, depth, quality and potential quantity of water available for use. This could potentially have huge benefits to local industry and investment opportunities in the region."
Investigations, funded through Royalties for Regions, found water stored in palaeochannel aquifers running through the hinterland, which has brought up to five gigalitres more of good quality water to the options table.
"There is also potentially another five gigalitres of lesser quality water that may be available for agriculture and other uses such as industrial processing," Ms Davies said.
"Currently most of the groundwater in Albany is fully allocated or committed to town water supply, and these new sources are a major contributor to regional water security."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said water demand in the Great Southern region was projected to increase by more than 20 gigalitres by 2043 under a medium growth scenario, with seven gigalitres a year of this projected for agriculture expansion.
"Water availability is a key interest to regional investors, particularly for new or expanded agriculture production," Mr Redman said.
"This important water information is now being made available to interested users of this water through the Department of Water, as well as the Great Southern Development Commission, ensuring the latest information is considered in investment planning."
In 2014, early results from these water investigations allowed the State Government to announce an initial 0.5 GL of additional groundwater, which deferred the need for a $250 million desalination plant for Albany's water supply.