Desert irrigation project for the remote East Pilbara
The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) is planning for the future of irrigated agriculture development in the Pilbara through the $12.5 million Pilbara Hinterland Agricultural Development Initiative (PHADI).
Irrigated agriculture has the potential to expand the economic base of the Pilbara and attract major capital investment. However, the feasibility of this potential needs to be better understood.
Funded by Royalties for Regions over four years, PHADI will assess the potential of irrigated agriculture in the Pilbara utilising surplus mine dewater and other in-situ water resources, and deliver high-impact research outcomes to assist future development decisions by government and industry.
PHADI will investigate and share key information on agronomics, land tenure, supply chain and markets, economic viability, cultural and environmental areas of significance, and stakeholder aspirations. It has a strong focus on practical research through pilot site trials and a comprehensive assessment of soil and water resources in the Pilbara.
Irrigated crops may be used for fodder, food and fuel production, and have the potential to bolster the existing pastoral industry and complement mining operations.
Options and pathways to irrigated agricultural development in the Pilbara will consider sustainable natural resource use with respect for country, culture and economic development.