Don't Dam the Donnelly River - STOP the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme

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The Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme has received commitments from State and Federal governments for $60 million to fund the development of an unnecessary and environmentally destructive dam and irrigation pipeline system in the South West of Western Australia - its effectively another Murray Darling Basin.

The Scheme is a proposal to:

  • build a concrete weir on the Donnelly River in West Manjimup
  • construct a 15 gigalitre (that’s 15,000,000,000 litres) storage dam, which will require the destruction of 160 hectares of forest, with associated flora and fauna and disruption of users of the Bibbulmun track. Water will be pumped from the Donnelly weir to this storage dam.
  • install power supply towers, pumping stations and 253 km of pipeline to redistribute 9 gigalitres of water per year to between 60 and 70 users in Manjimup-Pemberton region.
  • do all of this with a massive tax-payer subsidy of $60,000,000. (That’s 6 taxpayer dollars for every $1 contributed by the proposed users of this water.)
  • deprive smaller agricultural and horticultural producers in West Manjimup of access to water for larger-scale farming activities in the same area. These smaller farmers are all self-supply producers who use water with minimal environmental impact, and at no cost to the taxpayer.

While this scheme purports to increase the availability of food production land in the region, in fact all it would achieve is the relocation of food production. The river will be dammed for a pipeline which benefits just a handful of wealthy farmers in one area, while depriving other food producers in the Donnelly catchment of the right to build their own dams – all at the cost of $60,000,000 of taxpayer funds and irreparable environmental damage. Food producers in West-Manjimup supply their own water through dams they have built on their land as part of crop planning. In an area of high rainfall, with significant further food production capacity within the catchment, there is absolutely no need for a dam on a river, or a pipeline that will cause irreparable environmental destruction.

This scheme is neither economically, nor environmentally justifiable.

We want to STOP the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme.

We want politicians and the tax-paying public know that the Southern Forests Irrigation Scheme is NOT supported by the majority of people in the region.

Please help us by signing this petition and letting politicians know we don’t want another Murray Darling Basin.