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Case studies - The ord
Preliminary work on the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) Project began when the Western Australian Government established a small experimental farm in 1941. This farm was abandoned in 1945 and the Kimberley Research Station was established on Ivanhoe Plain, as a joint Commonwealth/State venture. By 1958 the WA Government was convinced of the viability of an irrigation scheme and the initial development was completed in 1963. The cost was around $20 million, of which the Commonwealth contributed $12 million. By 1966, 31 farms irrigated from the Diversion Dam had been allocated. Construction of the Ord River Dam followed to provide a major storage reservoir called Lake Argyle at a cost of $22 million. This was officially opened in June 1972 (Kimberley Development Commission Website, December 2006).
The existing Ord Stage 1 consists of an area of approximately 13,000 hectares of irrigated farmland on the Ivanhoe and Packsaddle Plains within Western Australia. Current crops in the area include broad acre and horticulture crops with a gross farm value of approximately $54 million (Ord River Irrigation Area Ord Stage 2 M2 Development Area Expression of Interest Invitation, Department of Industry and Resources, 2006).
Ord Stage 2 refers to the proposed second stage development of the ORIA and includes the M2 Development Area, Packsaddle, Ord West Bank, Ord East Bank and Mantinea Development Areas. The development of Ord Stage 2 for irrigated agriculture could not proceed without the agreement of the Miriuwung Gajerrong People. In 2005 the State, the Miriuwung Gajerrong People and other parties agreed to the development of Ord Stage 2 subject to the participation of the Miriuwung Gajerrong People in the project as set out in the Ord Final Agreement (OFA). The OFA was registered as an Indigenous Land Use Agreement by the National Native Title tribunal on 16 August 2006. The OFA recognises the economic, social and cultural needs of the Miriuwung Gajerrong People. Within the Agreement, the Aboriginal Development Package provides a range of initiatives that focus on developing the capacity of the Miriuwung Gajerrong People to engage in the local economy, to participate in and benefit from the M2 development and to participate in planning and management in the region.
Research undertaken by the NAIF team in the Ord region has included:
Department of Water, Government of Western Australia
Kimberley Development Commission
Ord Irrigation Co-operative
Ord Land and Water
Rangelands NRM Western Australia
Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley (Kununurra & Wyndham)
Last Updated 2 November, 2009
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