Battle to save Kimberley Fitzroy River

May 13, 1998

Battle to save Kimberley Fitzroy River

On April 30, the WA government tabled a memorandum of understanding between the government and Western Agricultural Industries (WAI) regarding a large-scale irrigation scheme in the west Kimberley region.

According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, the proposal involves an initial development of ground-water resources to "kick-start" the scheme, construction of a major dam at Dimond Gorge and a 500 kilometre canal to transport water to the irrigation area, and clearing large areas of pastoral lease and vacant crown land. The government may compulsorily acquire land on the developer's behalf and transfer water "rights" to WAI worth at least $600 million.

Dimond Gorge, which supports several rare species, will be flooded, along with 1000 square kilometres of land. Roebuck Bay, a wetland listed under the Ramsar Convention, may be badly affected by the ground-water development.

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