The Western Australian Government is using three years of targeted scientific investigations to allocate more groundwater to meet the Pilbara’s growing requirements and to support the Pilbara Cities initiative.


Pilbara regional manager Hamid Mohsenzadeh said the Department of Water is building knowledge of the area’s groundwater system so sustainable allocations can be set.


Work includes remote sensing to find out how big the aquifers are and where good quality water occurs, developing accurate computer models of the groundwater resources and finding out how ecosystems use the groundwater.


“Our research enables us to clarify water availability from coastal aquifers and the Millstream aquifer, as well as give a preliminary assessment of the potential for the West Canning Basin,” Mr Mohsenzadeh said.


“Recent increases of water allocation to meet West Pilbara town needs and setting an allocation limit for the West Canning Basin are two decisions made as a result of this work.”


The studies have formed the basis for the Pilbara groundwater allocation plan.


Mr Mohsenzadeh said with the scientific work done it was now up to industry and the community to have their say in the plan.


“Our planning process has been noted by the National Water Commission as the most inclusive in the nation, considering social and cultural, as well as economic values,” he said.


The plan will be developed with public consultation over the next six months and released for public comment in 2012.